After 2015’s cinematic disaster Fantastic Four, it a wonder that Josh Trank was able to make another major film let alone get Tom Hardy to star in the titular role. Those expecting Hardy to deliver another captivating turn as a notorious criminal, similar to his work in both Bronson and Legend, will be left severely disappointed. Capone is a crime drama that is comical in the worst way.
Ignoring the fact that Hardy doesn’t resemble Capone at all – the makeup is just a smidge over the top – the film inadvertently makes his mental deterioration funny. Hardy chews scenes effortlessly, his raspy, three packets a day smoker’s voice is memorable and effortless carries an Italian/Brooklyn quality. However, the biggest influence on the film seems to be a Bugs Bunny episode.
There is legitimate comedic value in watching Capone ‘smokes’ carrots, unable to differentiate its difference to a cigar. The same can be said for a diaper-clad Capone shooting up his own house.
One of the main problems with the film is that it struggles with balancing the difference between hallucination and reality. For example, there is an early extended scene involving a party in Capone’s basement. It is obviously a hallucination, but the film frequently fails to connect important aspects of the delusions with reality in a meaningful way. This causes unnecessary confusion for the viewer as these LSD-like hallucinations, unsurprisingly given his brain’s deterioration, make up a decent portion of the film.
Trank simply doesn’t have the finesse to create any suspense out of Capone’s mental state. He attempts to keep us guessing what is real and hallucination when Capone yells at supposed enemies hiding in the woods that surround his backyard. However, the constant surveillance the mob boss was under render these scenes a little pointless.
The supporting casts’ performances are solid at best, only his wife Mae (Linda Cardellini) give a somewhat memorable turn. The confused screenplay contains countless loose ends and underdeveloped plot lines. This is a film about the guilt and aging. Unfortunately, the bad script completely overshadows its themes. Often covered in his own vomit, Capone feels like a cinematic hit job, only this time the notorious gangster is on the receiving end.