CAPONE Spoiler-Free Review; "Tom Hardy Delivers A Transformative Performance Which Stands Among His Best"

Chronicle & Fantastic Four director Josh Trank is making his comeback with Capone starring Tom Hardy, but how does the filmmaker's return feature compare to his previous work? You'll find our verdict here.

Reviews Opinion

When Josh Trank delivered his debut feature Chronicle, he became one of the most sought after directors in Hollywood. Courted for everything from Boba Fett to Venom, he ultimately zeroed in on Fantastic Four, and well-documented clashes with Fox (a studio that's spent the better part of the past decade dropping the ball on the X-Men franchise with movies like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Dark Phoenix) resulted in a disappointing adaptation which clearly featured the competing visions of an up-and-coming filmmaker and studio executives.

Trank was then placed in the proverbial "Director's Jail," but he's now making a long overdue comeback with Vertical Entertainment's Capone (available on VOD from tomorrow), an undeniable return to form which should put him back on the radar in a big way. 

Taking place in the final year of notorious gangster Alfonse Capone's life, we find him at the age of 47 - a shadow of his former self as dementia rots his mind and the lines between fantasy and reality start to blur. Much of the film revolves around his missing millions and an illegitimate son who clearly wants to make contact with his father before it's too late. With Capone surrounded by people who want to get their hands on said money, Trank's movie continuously keeps us guessing about how much of what we're seeing is in his mind, and how much of it is actually taking place around him. He also does a phenomenal job of taking us into the gangster's damaged, broken mind, and there are themes and moments here that are likely to be talked about for years to come. 

At the centre of all of this is Tom Hardy, delivering a career-best performance which is never anything short of fascinating. His take on Capone is wonderfully complex, and while it's often all too easy to feel sorry for the character, Hardy and Trank find clever ways to show us glimpses of the man he once was, reminding us that we're following the story of someone many could argue deserves what he's getting. While the film belongs to the British actor, he's surrounded by an impressive supporting cast with memorable turns from the likes of Linda Cardellini, Jack Lowden, Kyle MacLachlan, and Matt Dillon.

Trank wrote, directed, and edited Capone, but surrounds himself with a great team, which includes some gorgeous work from cinematographer Peter Deming and composer El-P (not someone you would think might be a good fit for a film like this one, but whose work actually fits what we see on screen perfectly). Whether it's the failing gangster catching a glimpse of his past glory in the mirror or a wonderfully unexpected exchange between Capone and the FBI which makes you wonder just how much of the gangster's old self in still in there, there's a lot to take away from this one. Regardless of whether Trank continues to make smaller scale, personal tales like this or once again takes a crack at the blockbuster realm, his status as a filmmaker to watch has been restored. 

Capone might have benefited from a slightly longer runtime to better flesh out a few supporting characters, while it occasionally feels hard to keep up with who some of these people are if you don't have an existing knowledge of Capone's past. The stories of that missing money and Capone's family occasionally clash, and it might have benefited from focusing more on one or the other, but Trank's decision to zero in on the emotional side of things ensures that they come together satisfyingly, and as an examination of Capone's final year on Earth, it works well. It is, however, likely to be too weird for some viewers, and Trank still appears to be struggling to make a truly cohesive film.

Tom Hardy delivers a transformative performance which stands among his best, while director Josh Trank makes a solid return to filmmaking in Capone, an unmissable examination of Fonzo's final year on Earth.

IF

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