Capone Parent Guide
The biggest problem with this film is that the plot is fundamentally uninteresting.
Parent Movie Review
Alphonse Capone (Tom Hardy) established a fearsome reputation as the boss of the notorious Chicago Outfit in the 1920s. Under his leadership, the gang ran guns and booze, fought for territory on the streets, and made themselves rich doing it. But his glory days are long past: following his arrest for tax evasion in 1931, doctors diagnosed Capone with advanced neurosyphilis. His condition had deteriorated so badly by 1939 that he gets paroled and spends the remainder of his years at his family home on Palm Island in Florida. With his wife, Mae (Linda Cardellini), looking out for him, Capone begins to hallucinate, seeing the ghosts of his past wandering around in his present. Worse, Capone is convinced that he has around 10 million dollars buried – but in his current state he can’t recall where.
Tom Hardy is a great choice to bring some life into this project. If you’re going to have your protagonist spend the movie shambling about, grunting, yelling incoherently, and soiling himself, you’re going to need an actor who can make any of that more interesting for the audience than getting lost in a nursing home. Hence, Tom Hardy. Although the makeup is a little hit-and-miss, Hardy brings a palpable violence and barely restrained madness to the character. His red-eyed, wheezy intensity is enough to keep the movie watchable, but he’s struggling against a stiff current.
The problem is that the plot is fundamentally uninteresting. Maybe if this were a sequel, where the audience had already seen these characters developed and fleshed out, then this slower-paced winding personal drama could work, but not as it stands. The way it plays now, you get a movie that is 90% Tom Hardy acting his gut out (literally, in some cases), and 10% plot. It’s not a great balance. Don’t get your hopes up for any kind of satisfying twist or dramatic personal epiphany: it’s just a little old man losing what’s left of his marbles.
Beyond the structural problems, the film is not one intended for younger audiences. The relentless profanity and graphic violence are the largest problems, but there is also a fairly graphic (if mercifully blurry) sex scene, which is completely unnecessary as far as I can tell. While there are no illegal drugs, Capone spends nearly the entire film smoking cigars, until on doctor’s orders, he switches to gnawing on carrots.
I’ve seen some underwhelming gangster films in the past but I didn’t think that a film starring Tom Hardy as Scarface could be dull. Well, I’ve been wrong before, and I’ll be wrong again, but this is still a pretty disappointing slog through the last days of one of America’s most iconic mobsters. I’m not saying that every crime movie has to be a big shoot-em-up, or that the only way to make gangsters interesting is to make them violent. But if you’re going to make me sit through an hour and a half of grunting, rambling, and generally nothing else, I’d at least like some kind of emotional payoff.Directed by Josh Trank. Starring Tom Hardy, Linda Cardellini, and Matt Dillon.. Running time: 103 minutes. Theatrical release May 12, 2020. Updated May 28, 2020
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Rating & Content Info
Why is Capone rated R? Capone is rated R by the MPAA for strong/bloody violence, pervasive language and some sexuality.
Violence: Many people are shot, including two scenes depicting mass shootings. A man is stabbed repeatedly in the neck. There is a scene depicting torture. A person is shown hallucinating about cutting his own eyes out with a switchblade. A man shoots an alligator with a shotgun, causing a large bloody mess.
Sexual Content: There is a sex scene which features blurry nudity.
Profanity: There are 70 uses of extreme profanity, 10 uses of scatological curses, and occasional use of other profanity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: The protagonist is shown smoking cigars in almost all scenes. People are shown drinking and smoking cigarettes.
Page last updated May 28, 2020
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Dennis Lehane’s Live By Night (adapted into a film starring Ben Affleck) follows the story of Joe Coughlin, a man determined to make it big in the world. To that end, he becomes involved with organized crime, ensuring a consistent supply of bootleg liquor which goes up the coast from Florida to Boston.
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Tom Hardy can play anyone from Bane in The Dark Knight Rises to a young Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: Nemesis. Some of his more notable performances include Mad Max in Mad Max: Fury Road, and former-Marine-turned-MMA-fighter Tommy Riordan in Warrior. He has also played both of the Kray twins, two infamous London criminals, in the 2015 film Legend.
There is no shortage of films showing the chaotic gangster violence during Prohibition. Al Capone was notably played by Robert DeNiro in The Untouchables, which also stars Kevin Costner and Sean Connery. Lawless sees Tom Hardy as a bootlegger in Virginia, navigating a dangerous world of big-city mobsters and determined law enforcement as he makes moonshine in the hills. If you’re looking for a more contemporaneous portrayal of these outlaws, Howard Hawks’ pre-code classic Scarface, released in 1932, is loosely based on Al Capone. Other classic choices are Little Caesar and Public Enemy (not to be confused with Public Enemies, starring Johnny Depp as John Dillinger).