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Review: Capone – “It’s like a side mission on GTA V”

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I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Capone pop up in the pre-order tab of the US iTunes account. $12.99. One of my most anticipated of the year, with nary a weeks notice.

I’m not complaining.

I am fascinated as major companies try to navigate COVID-19. We’ve had the rentals of The Hunt and The Invisible Man. Both premium enough to warrant the $19.99 tag, in my opinion. Then, we had the rental of Trolls: World Tour for $19.99, which caused me no end of struggles, with a 5-year-old who doesn’t understand its not great value to then rent it more than once.

But you’ve got to get films out there and $12.99, as I discovered this morning, is to buy Capone, not rent it. Which, as great as it is that I see one of my most anticipated, the fact they’re almost giving it away, doesn’t bode well.

If it *is* bad, it can’t be *that* bad… Or can it…? Because as the reviews trickled in the day before, it started to become obvious the film was a bit of a mess. Literally.

It’s odd to me that critics would focus on one thing, but a common theme seemed to be it “starts & ends with Tom Hardy’s Capone (Fonzo to his friends & Family), explosively shitting his pants.”

This, after all, focuses on the last year of his life. Living in Florida, after being released from prison, for not posing a risk to society. With his physical and mental health in serious decline.

So ten minutes in, I’m thinking I’m watching a different film. I’ve thought this before with Josh Trank, too, because as much as we were all disappointed with his Fantastic Four, I didn’t think it was ever as bad as the critics — or even the Director! — said.

Instead, we get Hardy shuffling around his mansion. It’s more akin to horror in tone and the first ten minutes set up the fact that he’s clearly losing his mind. He sees ghosts. He sees, what he thinks, are FBI agents (or “serpents”) across the lake. W know, at some point, we’ll get flashbacks to the younger years.

I’m unapologetically a fan of this type of film. The era. The costume. The fact that I can’t quite believe it all actually happened — has America actually changed that much?

So, slow as it is, I’m pretty engrossed. Nessun Dorma helps. The setting isn’t too bad either. Hardy on full-on caricature, but pretty captivating none the less. Shuffling around — yes, eventually in several diapers — mumbling, but the scenes of soiling are as tastefully done as they can be. People saying it’s made them sick are going for headlines. I’d say only one time is it played for laughs and it is wildly misjudged.

You genuinely can’t understand what he’s saying at times and as he switches to Italian (“SERPENTS!”), you get a glimpse of what the performance could’ve been. Again, I don’t apologise for the fact I love Hardy and I love him in Legend too. I just think he’s a victim of his own success — especially in the mid to early years.

So… two hours later, where do I stand?

There’s a lot to like. Maybe even a tiny bit to love. Much of its surreal — including Hardy dressing up, Dr Moreau style, to escape for a fishing trip. Where he eventually blows a ‘gator up, with the largest gun you’ve ever seen. A gold-encrusted gun, no less.

It’s like a side mission on GTA V and you’re not sure if you should laugh or cry.

Hardy is giving it his all and I had agreed with myself that I’d watch it as a sequel to The Untouchables. I’m glad I’ve stuck with it, even though it feels far more laborious than the recent trailer alluded to.

It’s hard to not argue with those that haven’t got on with it. It’s not for everyone.

There’s a lot to like, though. Including a great scene where Hardy goes to the toilet — just a wee this time, thankfully — in the pitch black. Again, horror and we get the whirring of flies, which so far has signaled “ghosts” or visions. Pulling the shower curtain, we see someone bugging the phone and because of the setup, we’re not sure if he’s actually there or not. So Capone just stares him down. Fair play, I can’t say I’ve seen anything like it.

Less easy to like is Hardy bursting into song in two key sequences — seriously, once with Louis Armstrong — but I found in both Trank managed to “pull me back in.”

Especially in the latter, when Hardy sees his younger self in the mirror. You just know this film was 3 hours originally.

To find his own reflection, he follows a gold balloon in the middle of a party with black & grey balloons. It’s striking and once again, seems to follow the horror route. All of which makes me crave a film where we follow Mae Capone (Linda Cardellini) in the house, getting haunted/followed by Hardy. There are glimpses of that when she knocks him out for spitting in her face. Clint Barton treated better, it seems.

I’m pleased I’ve seen it. I’m delighted they’ve been so generous with the release window and also the price. I genuinely look forward to seeing it getting intrinsically unpicked the more that people see it.

Josh Trank & Hardy. Hated, adored, never ignored.

As a comeback for Trank, it’s fascinating. I’ll be there for the next one, but for now, I’m off to rewatch The Untouchables.

Even if that means I’ve gone full Godfather Part II with my timelines.

Capone is out to buy for $12.99 on US iTunes, with a U.K. release TBC.

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