Written by: Josh Trank
Starring: Tom Hardy, Linda Cardellini, Jack Lowden, Noel Fisher, Kyle MacLachlan
No matter the successes life grants, at some point everyone will reach old age and probably have to wear a diaper from a lack of bladder and bodily control. The circle of life as some might say. This final stage in life hits one of the deadliest gangsters of all-time in Capone and while wanting to serve as a reflection piece for this heinous man, the film gets caught up in how grotesque it wants to present the physical condition that it forgets to effectively follow through with its idea.
Now released from prison to live out his days with his family, Al Capone (Tom Hardy) suffers from neurosyphilis and dementia, which shows his mind has deteriorated quite a bit. With the time to reflect on everything he has done, he begins to have flashbacks on all of the heinous crimes he has committed and commissioned all while physically breaking down as well.
The idea behind Capone has some merit in trying to look into the mind of a man who has inflicted so much pain on others and how that impacts him as his mind begins to wear. The issue, however, comes in displaying the grotesque condition of Capone, which begins to overshadow everything else the film wants to achieve. Capone’s Palm Beach, Florida mansion serves as the setting for the film as he holds family gatherings at times, specifically Thanksgiving. Relatives and friends visit to pay their respects but it becomes obvious from the onset that Capone is not all these mentally or physically. Whenever anyone tries to have a conversation with him, he can barely muster complete sentences and instead farts most of the time. He has all anyone could want considering his circumstances, but there appears to be a sinister motive sitting within others around him.
On multiple occasions, it’s stated there’s a sum of $10 million dollars Capone might have stowed away somewhere and different characters try to ascertain where through speaking with him. It appears the federal forces who have granted him the freedom to live out his days want a hold of the money, which I’m not sure is legal and why they would actually want to get it but that does not receive any proper context. It all becomes a battle between these individuals to try and have Capone lucid enough to get this information out of him even if his dementia continues to deteriorate his mind.
Several sequences in the film take place primarily in the mind of Capone as he begins to feel the guilt associated with the horrendous actions he orchestrated in his prime. He sees the violence play out in a gross manner to really indicate the pain he caused, which could have been from petty reasons outside of financial and turf battles. Reality gets bent on several occasions when trying to figure out if the events seen on-screen are actually taking place or continue to be solely the mind of this man.
While this reflection has the air of importance, it gets bogged down by the shoddy storytelling and the grotesque physical appearance of Tom Hardy as Al Capone. With large scars on his face and nearly bloodshot eyes, the camera stays on Capone’s face for a majority of the film and it becomes disgusting to look at. He pees and defecates on himself on multiple occasions throughout the film for the purposes of showing how far gone he is physically but it feels unnecessary for most of it. Put Hardy’s terrible performance on top of it and you receive a complete caricature and joke of a portrayal of this gangster. Hardy loves doing weird voices but the one employed for Capone was indecipherable where the only respite came from the subtitles. Everything Hardy attempted to do with Capone lacked any sort of nuance but also did not show his skill either. It became an exercise of how gross and repulsive one can make a character, which does not mark for anything remotely interesting.
Linda Cardellini’s brief and mostly inconsequential scenes make the only bright spot of this putrid film as it does nothing substantial with the exploration of this man’s mind. It’s solely 104 minutes of watching Tom Hardy continually trying to gross out the audience with the way he speaks as Capone and the flatulent noises he makes. A good idea with such a substandard execution that all involved should be fairly embarrassed about.