Nearly five full years after his last movie, Fantastic Four, underwhelmed in theaters, director Josh Trank is back with a new cinematic offering. Capone, previously known as Fonzo, stars Tom Hardy as the eponymous character, notorious gangster Al Capone, who has finished his 11-year prison sentence and is spending his final year in Florida suffering from hepatitis and dementia.
Originally set for a theatrical release, Capone arrives on PVOD tomorrow, and reviews for the latest Josh Trank flick are flowing in. Overall, the movie is enjoying better critical reception than Fantastic Four, but it’s nonetheless a mixed affair among critics.
Starting off, CinemaBlend’s own Sean O’Connell gave Capone three and a half out of five stars in his review. Sean commended Tom Hardy for his performance as the deteriorating Al Capone and praised Josh Trank for demonstrating “real flair” with exploring the gangster’s nightmares. That said, he also noted that by sidestepping the traditional biopic formula, the movie, which evokes 1970s crime dramas, can make for “an uncomfortable and unpredictable trip” by “wallowing” in Al Capone’s dementia.
[T]he polar opposite of a conventional gangster picture, featuring an engrossing tour-de-force performance from Tom Hardy in the lead role.
Brian Truitt from USA Today also fell into more positive territory with Capone, giving it a 3/4 score. In his mind, Tom Hardy and Josh Trank are the key ingredients to making the movie work, with this being one of Hardy’s most “iconoclastic” roles yet and Trank making a “redemptive comeback” following Fantastic Four’s less than stellar time in theaters and quitting his Star Wars movie.
The film paves a path that crime dramas often don’t tread, imagining what happens after a larger-than-life criminal’s reign of terror, stripping down an icon of power and mental capacity, and leaving a feral wreck in his place.
On the negative end of the critical spectrum, Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Greenblatt stated Capone with a C grade. She found that Tom Hardy’s Al Capone performance was a “trap” for the actor, as the opportunity to “ramble and roar outrageously across the screen” results in viewers not feeling anything but “ disgust or pity” for the character. Plus, the story itself becomes a “surreal afterthought” and the supporting cast wasn’t given any meaningful material.
[Trank] invests so much in atmosphere and in chronicling Capone's decline that the storyline - riddled with flashbacks and half-hallucinations - becomes a sort of surreal afterthought, a strange patchwork of bathos and brutality.
Chris Agar from ScreenRant was also unimpressed with Capone, giving it a 2/5 score. While the movie does its best to differentiate itself from past movies featuring Al Capone and other crime movies in general, Chris felt that the execution couldn’t make up for the script’s shortcomings, and Josh Trank failed to generate sympathy for the title character.
Capone has lofty ambitions of being the next great crime drama, but falls short of finding a compelling story about its subject's final days.
Slashfilm’s Chris Evangelista was more receptive towards Capone, as evidenced by the 7/10 rating on his review. He described the movie as “overly theatrical” that’s not concerned with being grounded in reality as Al Capone is being bombarded by nightmarish visions, but Chris thought that this was a “refreshing” take, even if there are moments where the movie seems like it “might collapse under the weight of its ambition.”
Capone works in spite of these road bumps, mainly because it’s easy to get wrapped-up in Hardy’s ghoulish performance, and the gothic horror of it all.
Finally, Richard Roeper from The Chicago Sun-Times fell into the ‘displeased with Capone’ camp with is one and a half out of four stars score. While he acknowledged that Tom Hardy’s performance as Al Capone is the dominating element of the movie, he was nonetheless unimpressed with the depiction of the gangster losing his grip on reality in a story that goes nowhere.
Capone is a noxious film about a noxious man - a gruesome and grotesque viewing experience that tells us nothing new about Capone while rubbing our noses in one detestable scene after another.
These are just a few of the Capone reviews that are now available to read, so feel free to scour the interwebs to see what other critics thought. Joining Tom Hardy in the cast are Linda Cardellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Jack Lowden, Matt Dillon and Noel Fisher, among others.
You can judge Capone for yourself when it hits VOD tomorrow, May 12. As for what movies are still set to hit the silver screen later this year, that information can be found in our 2020 release schedule.