The story of how George Jung, along with the Medellín Cartel headed by Pablo Escobar, established the American cocaine market in the 1970s in the United States.

Director:

Ted Demme

Writers:

Bruce Porter (book), David McKenna (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
1,643 ( 137)
3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnny Depp ... George Jung
Penélope Cruz ... Mirtha Jung (as Penelope Cruz)
Franka Potente ... Barbara Buckley
Rachel Griffiths ... Ermine Jung
Paul Reubens ... Derek Foreal
Jordi Mollà ... Diego Delgado (as Jordi Molla)
Cliff Curtis ... Escobar
Miguel Sandoval ... Augusto Oliveras
Ethan Suplee ... Tuna
Ray Liotta ... Fred Jung
Kevin Gage ... Leon Minghella
Max Perlich ... Kevin Dulli
Jesse James ... Young George
Miguel Pérez ... Alessandro (as Miguel Perez)
Dan Ferro ... Cesar Toban
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Storyline

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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Based on a True Story.

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive drug content and language, some violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ray Liotta, who plays George's (Johnny Depp's) father, is only eight years older than Depp. See more »

Goofs

When Mirtha wants to have sex with George in the car, as she is turning over to sit on him, the microphone port and the cables are clearly visible on the back of her dress. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
George: That's a nice boy. Go get 'em, Dulli.
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Crazy Credits

A photograph of the real George Jung appears at the end of the film, as the credits start to roll. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Brows Held High: 9 Songs (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Keep It Comin' Love
Written by Harry Wayne Casey & Richard Finch
Performed by KC & The Sunshine Band
Courtesy of Rhino Entertainment Company & EMI Records Ltd.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products and under license from
EMI-Capitol Music Special Markets
Published by EMI Longitude Music Co. / Harrick Music (BMI)
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User Reviews

 
Uneven, but entertaining, all the same
18 November 2004 | by mentalcriticSee all my reviews

Since not every film can be a great masterpiece, it only stands to reason that there are some which, as good as they are, will never be mentioned in the same breath as The Godfather. Blow happens to be one of those films. In today's market, where films are literally churned out with more attention paid to marketability than merit, it is no surprise that films of almost every subject are saturating the market. Even films about, or based upon, historical crime figures are a dime a dozen these days. The plus to this is that the ones that do come out have to do something special in order to be considered good.

Blow's strengths lie in a couple of performances, and the scenes in which George Jung's ability to negotiate his way out of a fix (or into one) are displayed. Johnny Depp plays Jung with a consummate authenticity that, especially when sees the interviews with the real George Jung, literally leaps out of the screen. It's hard to believe this guy who I saw as a fresh-faced semi-nerd in A Nightmare On Elm Street is able to portray such a wide and varied range of characters. Ray Liotta gives him ample support as Fred Jung, showing a man hit hard by his own unsuccessful attempts to keep himself independent and free, therefore fully understanding of how far his son will go to see he doesn't fail in the same endeavour. The final scene with Liotta, where he is listening to the tape recording, is one of the most touching examples of men declaring they cannot regret their defiance seen on film.

The scenes with Pablo Escobar are especially amusing. As we see how George was able to charm his way into any deal he set his mind to, one cannot help but admire the man. Merely standing before the most powerful drug lord in South America at that time would have taken more guts than most people are allotted. The Jungian method of keeping oneself calm while smuggling through customs, even if completely fictional, sums up this this calmness in the face of danger quite brilliantly.

But, and it seems there always is a but with Hollywood product these days, some aspects of the film are terrible. Penélope Cruz is absolutely horrible as Mirtha Jung, and it is hard to believe that someone as cocky and bold as George would tolerate her presence. I've heard Salma Hayek (or horse-jaw as she is probably better-known) suggested for the part, but she is just as bad. Given how many actresses there are in Spain who would appreciate a break, and know a mode of speech other than screaming, one can't help but wish the director could have shown a bit of Jungian testicular fortitude and cast an unknown.

Adding to the film's woes is the end of the story. Compared to the first two thirds, where we seem to be going along at the speed of one of Jung's sports cars, the whole thread about Jung's inability to live without contact with his daughter brings affairs to a screeching halt. That Christina Jung has never visited her father, at least according to the ending crawl, is a pretty sad fact. What's even worse is that after viewing this film, we never learn anything about Christina. We don't learn if the cocaine abuse on her mother's part during pregnancy had any ill effects, or whether she has led a life she would call satisfactory. She is little more than a prop. The fact that Jaime King, the actress who played her during the final wrap-up, is a recovering heroin addict only makes one wonder more. Especially among those of us who really have to live with permanent physical damage that may have been caused by parental drug abuse during in utero development (even if it was only nicotine in my mother's case).

In all, I gave Blow an eight out of ten. If you want to know anything about George Jung and how cocaine got to be such a hot item in America, then this film does make some excellent points. With the poor economy in America where blue-collar workers are in borderline poverty while CEOs rip them off something blind, it really is a wonder we aren't seeing the rise of an army composed of George Jung wannabes.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

WarnerBros.com

Country:

USA | Mexico

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 April 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Blow: One Man's Life See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$53,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,443,461, 8 April 2001

Gross USA:

$52,990,775

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$83,282,296
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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