Capone

Critics Consensus

Tom Hardy makes the most of his opportunity to tackle a challenging role, but Capone is too haphazardly constructed to support his fascinating performance.

41%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 126

28%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 485

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Movie Info

Once a ruthless businessman and bootlegger who ruled Chicago with an iron fist, Alfonse Capone was the most infamous and feared gangster of American lore. At the age of 47, following nearly a decade of imprisonment, dementia rots Alfonse's mind and his past becomes present. Harrowing memories of his violent and brutal origins melt into his waking life. As he spends his final year surrounded by family with the FBI lying in wait, this ailing patriarch struggles to place the memory of the location of millions of dollars he hid away on his property.

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Critic Reviews for Capone

All Critics (126) | Top Critics (26) | Fresh (52) | Rotten (74)

  • [W]atching the star wheel around the estate wielding a solid-gold tommy gun while dressed in adult diapers is to witness a craziness that feels uniquely American and perhaps even more geographically precise than that.

    May 19, 2020 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • It's a trip you'd rather forget.

    May 18, 2020 | Rating: C- | Full Review…
  • A baffling misfire. This is just terrible, but exquisitely so and must be seen.

    May 15, 2020 | Full Review…
  • The ghastly contrasts are built into the well-conceived story, but Trank neither trusts it nor rises to the demands of his phantasmagorical ambitions.

    May 15, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Mr. Hardy does have a few sensationally lurid moments, but the stuff of high drama isn't there... What a waste, and what a downer for Mr. Trank.

    May 14, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Al Capone's last year could make for an interesting film, but there is little poetry or transcendence in "Capone," and nothing even remotely close to the quietly devastating third act of "The Irishman."

    May 14, 2020 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Capone

  • May 15, 2020
    In 2012, after the found footage superhero movie Chronicle became a surprise smash, director Josh Trank was at the top of Hollywood's hot new director list. Within three years, he was a pariah. The production behind 2015's Fantastic Four was so troubled and fraught with reshoots, creative clashes, and secret edits that Trank was labeled as a malcontent who couldn't be trusted with the big tentpoles. He was unceremoniously dumped by Star Wars and seemed to become the latest casualty of an industry that eats its own promising wunderkinds. I'd highly advise people read a very illuminating in-depth article from Polygon on Trank's troubles and triumphs, including his insights on where Fantastic Four went awry. Tranks spent years honing his next script, an Al Capone biopic of his late years, and waiting for star Tom Hardy to be available. Some critics have called Trank's comeback movie a self-indulgent, surreal, campy mess, and indeed while I was watching I had visions of Mommie Dearest. However, that wasn't a bad thing, at least for me. I cannot call Capone an unqualified success but I appreciated the bizarre lengths Trank goes to make a biopic that mocks and tears away the mystique of its macho idol. Capone (Hardy), or "Fonze" as he's referred to primarily, has been released from his prison sentence for tax evasion and living the rest of his says on his Florida estate. He's suffering dementia from the effects of neurosyphilis, a condition he contracted as a teenager. His wife, Mae (Linda Cardellini), tries her best to keep him from harming himself or others. The F.B.I. is still listening, still watching, and newspaper reporters are still hiding along the bushes. Capone struggles to keep his mind from being completely lost but will lose, dying at age 47. First off, I think Trank's initial creative approach is a genius way to explore a biographical film, running through the major points of a subject's life in a hallucinatory, non-linear fashion that mixes fantasy and reality. From that standpoint alone, Capone is never boring because it can quite literally go anywhere as Capone retreats further and further into his fraying mind. That's such a visually stimulating way of telling a story while also presenting a chaotic impression of a character's perception, locking us into an empathetic experience with an unreliable guidepost. I think that alone makes Capone worthwhile, as does Hardy's go-for-broke performance (more on that later). It's a weird fever dream of a movie, constantly shifting between past and present, fantasy and reality, and I think this perspective adds much to the film's appeal and ambition. One second the man is sitting down with FBI agents and the next he's wandering a ballroom to go onstage with Louis Armstrong for a New Year's Eve duet. It gets pretty crazy and that's good. I was wondering if Trank would glorify his title subject. I only had to wait for the first twenty minutes where Al Capone literally craps himself twice for my answer. This is not Capone at the height of his power where he ruled the Chicago ganglands; this is a decrepit, doddering man, equally helpless and reckless, unable or unwilling to even control his bowels. He is rotten from the inside out, a vile human being whose own filth is leaking out to smother him. Gangster cinema has often glamorized the mafia and criminals as folk heroes, like in 1967's Bonnie and Clyde and the more recent Public Enemies in 2009. So, with all of that said, I enjoyed that Trank took a legendary figure of the criminal underworld and totally undercut his machismo power. He strips away the romantic notions of the man's life. This isn't the man on the pulpy radio dramas, this is a guy who craps the bed. Martin Scorsese's The Irishman got plenty of acclaim for spending its final half-hour showing where a lifetime of crime leads its elderly protagonist, a sad, lonely life without any personal benefit. Trank takes that much-heralded final half-hour and turns it into an entire movie. I wish more movies would do this to deserving subjects. The biggest draw of the film is Hardy (Venom, The Revenant) who never met a film role he couldn't grumble, mumble, growl, or unleash a funny voice for. To say he is committed does not to do the man justice. He is not only chewing scenery; he is rapidly inhaling it. He is playing to the cheap seats with this role, bloodshot eyes bulging out of his head with thousand-yard stares of confusion and paranoia. He's barely intelligible at times, and that's before he has a stroke that further impairs his ability to communicate. He can also be hard to recognize under layers of pock-faced makeup. The acting-with-a-capital-A style is so enthralling but perhaps not for the exact intended reasons. It's fascinating to watch a highly respected, Academy Award-nominated actor just indulge every over-the-top impulse and tic, where each small decision feels like generating the question, "Really, you went with that choice?" The batty performance brought to mind Faye Dunaway's breathtaking performance in 1981's so-bad-it's-good Mommie Dearest as Joan Crawford (she thought she was going to in awards for that performance!). It's a level of camp with no reservation, and it's rare to see from such a famous actor, and I was spellbound. If you enjoyed Mommie Dearest for its unintentional camp hilarity, then Capone might be just for you. While at turns confounding and fascinating, Capone falls short when it comes to examining the inner life of its title character. I assumed with the conceit of losing touch with reality that Capone would be experiencing some reckoning over his past misdeeds, and this happens in a very mild, opaque degree. There are some supporting characters that turn out to be, surprise, ghosts that Capone had killed in his past. But they stop there, failing to provide an opportunity for Capone to feel remorse and they don't even push him on being guilty. You would think a man with a sizeable list of dead people he's responsible for would be haunted by more ghosts from the past, forcing him to reconcile his idea of himself. Capone is also seeing images of a young boy that is meant to represent his poor youthful upbringing, but he doesn't interact with this past representation other than look uncomfortable in his presence. The movie desperately needed more introspection with this man examining his sins and legacy and validations. A bad man coming to terms with the end and what it means is great dramatic potential. A bad man who bumbles around his luxurious home, sees some ghosts, and continues bumbling is less so. That's where Trank's screenplay really falters because it doesn't push harder. Capone is too caught up in upending the image of Al Capone rather than digging deeper into the man himself and his drama. The supporting characters also do little to offer alternative sides to Capone. His long-suffering wife is nicely played by Cardellini (Green Book), brought to tears watching her strong man waste away, calling her an angel one minute and forgetting her face the next, but we don't learn more about the central figure through her. He started poor. Got power. Now he's incompetent (and incontinent). That's it. There's room for more here than a man falling apart. What about the other people in his life? What about plans for succession from those who spent their lives in his service? There's even the storyline of a lovechild trying to get in contact with him and the movie miraculously does nothing with this abandoned child to add further dimension and insight. I would be lying if I said I wasn't laughing throughout Capone, though I think Trank is intending some degree of mockery with his biopic that plumbs the depths of the strange and grotesque. There's a guy who gets stabbed in the neck maybe 50 literal times. There's Capone shooting alligators, convinced they're conspiring to munch on his testicles. There's Capone applauding and singing along to The Wizard of Oz and arguing for the sake of the Cowardly Lion. There's an ongoing subplot about different supporting characters trying to somehow sift the location of Capone's hidden millions from his broken mind like a treasure hunt. There's an entire sequence where Capone, with carrot-as-cigar in mouth, marches around firing a golden tommy gun while his saggy adult diaper droops around his waistline. In short, there's more than enough material here to enjoy on a strictly ridiculous, pulpy, heightened to the point of breaking campy level. Hardy is fully unrestrained, for better and worse, but he's always watchable, as I would say the film itself. Even if it feels ultimately superficial and underdeveloped, Trank's Capone is a fever dream of bad taste about a bad man going through some bad times and it just might be the good kind of bad. Nate's Grade: C+
    Nate Z Super Reviewer
  • May 13, 2020
    After watching Tom Hardy give it his all as Al Capone in his final year of dementia-ridden life I found myself wondering "what is the purpose of this film's existence? I am not learning anything about Al Capone, in fact I feel like a voyeur peering into something that seems like exploitation of a real person's mental illness. There is a moment in the movie where Capone is being interviewed by the police and the cop is outright telling him that he does not care about Al's suffering while Tom Hardy's Capone goes to the bathroom in his pants and mumbles incoherently, I cannot recommend this movie as it just feels like exploitation of an infamous person's mental disorders at their worst.
    Gregorio R Super Reviewer

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