The video-on-demand world we now live in has sunk to new lows with the release of "Capone", a very ugly biopic about a very ugly man.
Notorious gangster Al Capone lived a pretty interesting life. In fact, there are already a lot movies about the figure and those around him. So one would think a modern biopic would choose any number of interesting Capone stories to turn into a movie.
Instead, "Capone" is about the final year of Al Capone's life; you know, when he was dying of syphilis. Now that's movie magic.
In 1939, Al Capone was released from prison due to his eroding mental health. He spent the last year of his life in an isolated mansion in Florida, his brain and body rotting away from his disease.
And that, really, is the movie. Al Capone sits around this Florida estate turning into a vegetable. Sometimes he has random flashbacks or hallucinations. Sometimes his wife or a gangland crony checks up on him. And sometimes the FBI spies on him a little. But through it all, Capone just deteriorates.
Don't get me wrong. Dementia is a horrible illness and there are many people in the world who have had to watch a loved one go through something like this. But this is a movie. And "Capone" doesn't try to explore the disease or use it to say anything about the man or his legend. There is a reason why Al Capone movies focus on his career as a criminal in Chicago instead of his epilogue as a sick man in Florida.
There is just nothing to this movie. No drama. No suspense. No tension. Just the ugly reality of illness. But it's not a documentary. "Capone" is trying to be a movie.
Actor Tom Hardy plays Capone and he swings for the fences with the performance. He's covered in makeup and seems well-practiced in his performance, really sinking into the mannerisms and odd, croaking voice of the character. But the almost over-the-top acting also doesn't accomplish anything. If anything, it just piles on to the suffering.
Hardy's performance doesn't offer any sympathy to Capone, it only adds to the grotesque nature of the movie.
"Capone" tries to position itself as an intimate drama but is really just torture porn for the ravages of illness and dementia.