Grant Mitchell

Prohibition gangster Alphonse “Scarface,” Capone has seen plenty of screen time in films, television and video games surrounding his depraved lifestyle and notoriously violent transactions. 

The latest high-profile depiction of the legendary gangster was seen in the 2020’s Josh Trank effort, “Capone,” starring Tom Hardy. 

This was a movie that I, and many others, had a great deal of excitement for. Tom Hardy as Al Capone sounded like a match made in heaven. 

Being intrigued by the most debased members of our society and throughout our history is something that has led to there being countless films, shows and documentaries about serial killers, mobsters, etc. 

While most of these projects lend themselves to being more of tasteless glorifications of vile and infamous figures, “Capone’s” failings are from a lack of vision from its director, and not a tastelessness found in projects such as 2020’s abhorrent “The Last Days of American Crime.” 

“Capone,” has a very interesting premise. It is based around the last days of Al Capone in Florida after he was free from prison but confined to his home due to declining health from neurological syphilis. 

Again, from that alone it sounds like it would be an interesting movie. 

Unfortunately, we are given an experience that never seems to materialize into anything tangible or outright good, it just remains interesting and full of unrealized potential. 

The reason I say that about the film is because the acting and flashback scenes in this film are good. 

Al Capone losing his grip on his physical and phycological world is an interesting perspective we have never seen from a filmmaker on this subject before. 

However instead of exploring Capone’s mortality through detailed memory and reflection, we watch Tom Hardy have hallucinations and flashbacks that are very engaging and cool, but meaningless because each one is a random snippet from his life. 

All of these moments happen without preface or explanation. 

As for the moments when we are in real time watching Al Capone, he gargles his own spit and mumbles throughout the movie. 

The only time we actually see the physical embodiment of Al take action in “Capone,” is at the tail-end of the film when Al has a dementia-induced meltdown and takes his gold-plated Thompson submachine gun off the wall and lets a hail of bullets fly across his property. 

It’s an effort by Al that leaves only one person wounded, showing that at this stage Capone is only a shred of the threat and man he once was.

Which is funny because that is exactly what this movie feels like once you finish it. 

The film was a mere whisper of what it could have been, and just a hodge-podge of flashbacks and hallucinations tied together by no more than a few strands of relevance. 

It’s really unfortunate because of what Hardy did with the character of Al Capone, he was great. However, when thinking about all he could have done with it, you can’t help but feel a little heartbroken over what the film could have been. 

With what was supposed to offer as a comeback for Josh Trank after his 2015 “Fantastic Four” film bombed and was omitted from the Marvel cinematic universe, has instead served as yet another nail in his once promising career. 

Grant Mitchell is a senior majoring in public relations. He can be reached at gmitch16@vols.utk.edu.

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