The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.
A boy named George Jung grows up in a struggling family in the 1950's. His mother nags at her husband as he is trying to make a living for the family. It is finally revealed that George's father cannot make a living and the family goes bankrupt. George does not want the same thing to happen to him, and his friend Tuna, in the 1960's, suggests that he deal marijuana. He is a big hit in California in the 1960's, yet he goes to jail, where he finds out about the wonders of cocaine. As a result, when released, he gets rich by bringing cocaine to America. However, he soon pays the price.Written by
The film takes place in 1955, 1968, 1969, 1976, 1980, 1987, 1990, and 1994. See more »
At Logan Airport, when George returns from Cartegena in 1976, a man in a brown coat with a reddish scarf picks up a bag, then walks through the immigration and customs station behind George without being checked through. See more »
That's a nice boy. Go get 'em, Dulli.
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A photograph of the real George Jung appears at the end of the film, as the credits start to roll. See more »
Blow is always watchable, and it's often very entertaining & well acted. However, I also found it extremely trite and shallow. This movie wants to be Goodfellas or even Casino (an unfairly maligned film) and will inevitably be compared with those films. But, it falls well short and comes across like Scorsese-lite, at best, and, at worst, as reductive and predictable as a TV movie. Blow's timing is especially unfortunate since we just got a trenchant, comprehensive view of the drug world from Traffic - and Blow pales in comparison.
The first and perhaps most fatal flaw is how broad the strokes that the screenwriters David McKenna & Nick Cassavetes and director Ted Demme make - they tend to settle for boiler plate scenes. The film depicts the rise and fall of a drug dealer - and you could probably plot out every scene right now without even seeing the film. Here's the scene where he meets his first beautiful girlfriend. Here's the scene where they make their first score. Here's where they get high & live it up. Here's where they get busted. Etc.,etc., etc. Characters pop in and out and things happen without much explanation or development. I never really felt like I got to know any one or emotionally attach myself. Perhaps, this is a result of choppy editing -but I felt that the script and direction tended to go for the obvious or the obviously "gritty." The cast consists of some of the most interesting actors from around the world (including Max Perlich and Run Lola Run's Franka Potente - wasted in a throwaway role) but the movie doesn't give them much to do or bother to dig deeper into their psyches. Paul Reubens aka Pee-Wee Herman manages to give a winking, fey performance as a hairdresser cum drug dealer, but he's one of the few actors that actually registers a presence aside from Depp. Both Rachel Griffiths and Penelope Cruz are wasted in caricatures (The women in the film consist mostly of strident caricatures - screaming harridans and crazy, coked out bitches). While Depp is always magnetic to watch and does a remarkable job with the physical transformation of his character through time (though his Boston accent is erratic and he has a tendency to appear too much like a rock star in his recent roles - remember Chocolat? - I'm still trying to forget), his characterization ultimately disappoints by remaining remote. George Jung remains a cipher for us. I wish he'd return to the maturity and subtle depth of his performance in Donnie Brasco (which remains his best and perhaps most adult performance - free of gimmicks and quirks). We get crude attempts to draw lines between Jung's early family life and his later domestic life with his wife and child. My next complaint is that I didn't learn a damn thing from this movie. I was hoping to gain insight into the details of cocaine production, distribution & sales, or find out about what made George Jung or Pablo Escobar tick. We only get a rough sketch of Escobar (etched with sly, savage economy by the great Kiwi actor Cliff Curtis - when will someone give him a movie of his own?) from a distance & Jung remains a remote albeit charming blank. We never meet the customers, the users of cocaine, we don't even really see deals being made in any great detail. We don't see anything we haven't seen before and I walked away unenlightened and unedified. Last, there's the matter of style. The movie suffers a lack of tonal consistency (Is it a realistic docu-drama? Subjective first-person account? A blend of the two? Campy social satire? Tragedy?) and worse, from a lack of a coherent style. Goodfellas was always filtered through Henry Hill's eyes - and went even further by being filtered through Scorsese's view of Hill and his world - giving it an extra subtle layer irony to the amoral proceedings.Demme and his DP Ellen Kuras change stock, exposure, camera angles & employ freeze-frames and stylish lighting flourishes with reckless abandon. I'm all for stylistic adventurousness and experimentation. But there has to be a moral or aesthetic justification for each flourish- otherwise it becomes arbitrary MTV gobbledy-gook. When Scorsese uses these "tricks," they're used with tremendous skill and precision. Each effect is designed to underline a specific character, emotion, piece of information, or theme. Or perhaps, he wants the audience to share the emotions of his character at that particular moment. Demme's style is more wily-nily.
I learned far more about the rise and fall of a sinner & criminal pathology from Goodfellas. Soderbergh's Traffic gave me more insight into the international world of drug trafficking & moved with more with the intractable complexity of Benicio Del Toro's character. Blow just passed the time somewhat uneasily. It bums me out to dislike this film since I was gunning for it & we really need a great film to watch. But this isn't it.
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