Much like David Ayer, Josh Trank is a director who is the victim of a studio’s interference causing much unwarranted criticism. Ayer obviously had Suicide Squad, and Trank had the 2015 version of Fantastic Four (or Fant4stic as it is known online). And much like Ayer, I was rooting for Trank to succeed in his comeback film, Capone starring Tom Hardy.
Now, this isn’t your typical gangster movie. This is a film about the final year in Al Capone’s life. He is succumbing to dementia and is pretty much an invalid. I crave originality in movies and applaud Trank for taking a route that not many would. However, there just isn’t enough interesting stuff here to hold up the film’s 103 minute runtime. I’ll avoid spoilers here but what it feels like is when you jump into a TV show midseason. By that I mean that there is no traditional three act structure on display here. There are no scenes of Capone in his glory days, or him gradually getting sick. We start off with him pretty much cooked. In fact, within the first 20 minutes, the infamous gangster Al Capone shits himself. That actually happened.
With there being no three act structure, it also means there is barely any story. Sure, there is something about some buried treasure (no, really) and whether or not the FBI is watching Capone or his mind is playing tricks on him, but those are just things that happen, it’s not a story. I’d go as far as saying that everything to do with the writing in this is pretty close to being horse shit.
With that being said, there is some stuff to like here. Trank does a really nice job behind the camera; there are some gorgeous shots throughout and the work he does with cinematographer Peter Deming is amongst the highlights of the film. The acting in this is also very good. Some people might point to the fact that Tom Hardy sounds like Elmer Fudd and say that’s shit, but I commend him for putting 110% into this. Most people on the level of Hardy would read a script like this, one that requires you to shit yourself multiple times and would just turn it down. Hardy fully commits to the insanity and actually gives a good, if strange, performance. But while Hardy is the main star, he gets outshone by Linda Cardellini, who brings an unbridled fire to her role as Al Capone’s wife.
I really would’ve liked to see how this looked if written by someone a bit more competent than Josh Trank. I think he has talent as a director, but his writing here leaves a lot to be desired. This film boasts a good cast that do a great job, and some beautiful camera work, but with nothing happening on the screen, a great concept goes to waste and Capone just ends up being criminally boring.