'Capone' Review: Tom Hardy's stellar performance and class storytelling make this film a compelling watch

Josh Trank brings in his traits of attention to detail in 'Capone', richly complemented by Hardy's portrayal of the mob boss


                            'Capone' Review: Tom Hardy's stellar performance and class storytelling make this film a compelling watch
(Vertical Entertainment)

Spoilers for 'Capone'

Let's say one thing straight off the bat. Tom Hardy delivers a stellar performance as Al Capone. We don't mean to exaggerate nor do we mean any disrespect to the actors who have essayed Capone in the past, but Hardy as the notorious gangster in his final days plays the part like a man possessed.

It takes 12 minutes of the film's opening sequence to establish a suffering Fonse (that's what Capone wants to be called) on his last legs. A mind devoured one day at a time by a major blow of dementia and body struck with syphilis sees Capone live and breathe one moment at a time, painfully. 

It isn't a secret of the sort of a man, or shall we say, the legend that Capone was. The Chicago Mob boss' portrayal by Hardy is shocking as he plays a man weakened over the years and subdued largely due to ill-health.

It is quite interesting to think about how the Oscar-nominated actor would have played an in-his-prime Capone. The gangster died a pretty early death. He was 48 when he died in 1947. January 26 for those who are keen on the date. 

To be very clear, this film isn't a gang war drama, nor is it a bloody, violent story with Capone in the middle. This isn't a man out there killing people. Here, he is a constant cigar-puffing, red-eyed, hair-thinning, raspy-voiced and retired mob man on the brink of meeting his maker.

He slurs, daze walks his way and shits the bed uncontrollably and despite all these physical and mental weaknesses, he's not the guy to back down from a fight or mouthing expletives at regular intervals. 

Much of the film is shot keeping his final mansion on Palm Island, Florida, as the theme. Linda Cardellini plays Mae Coughlin, a doting and patient wife with her moist eyes conveying much of the message.

Released after deteriorating health issues,  Capone is shown to be living with his family in Florida. He is also seen being treated by a doctor (Kyle MacLachlan) who makes sure Capone chomps on carrots instead of cigars, to which the response comes in the form of a grunt. 

There's enough attention paid. A custom lighter with his initials, AC engraved on it, the famous gold Tommy Gun that still looks like one of the sleek and deadly killing machines which are an essential part of his dementia.

The final act of the level of his illness is when he imagines himself walking around his estate wearing a robe, exposing a diaper, a carrot at the edge of his mouth as he mumbles in Italian while killing people with the Tommy.

It is a figment of his imagination, of course, probably caused by past memories. But if there is one highlight in the film, it has to be that sequence. 

There is also a plotline that sees a crack FBI unit spearheaded by Agent Crawford (Jack Lowden) who has his eyes and ears trained on Capone and the house. And on Fonse's part, there are $10 million dollars he's hiding somewhere that even he doesn't know of. 

"I hid ten million bucks," he explains to his friend, Johnny (Matt Dillon). Throughout the film that lasts a good 90 minutes, there's that tugging suspicion if Capone is actually on the verge of a mega hallucination or whether he's got one final ace up his sleeve. 

Josh Trank may have garnered enough flak for the forgettable damp squib of a reboot called 'Fantastic Four' in 2015. But he brings in his traits of attention to detail and some class storytelling with 'Capone'.

He attempts to add as much depth as he can by layering minor plot points and while it may seem fairly slow-paced, it does the job of giving us a chance to think of what Capone's last days actually were like.

'Capone' is available on Video on Demand.

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