Three weeks ago I saw Josh Trank‘s Capone (Vertical, 5.12). My 26-word capsule review: “Splotchy, flamboyant and plotless but flavorful and quirky thanks to Tom Hardy, and with one terrific, stand-up-and-cheer scene. But that’s all.”
Pic is basically about the demented Al Capone (brain corroded by syphilis or, if you will, paresis), hanging around his Miami Beach mansion in 1946 and early ’47 and basically succumbing to one haunting flashback or hallucination after another.
My suspicion is that Trank (Fantastic Four, Chronicle) landed Hardy by telling him “look, man…there’s no story or ‘movie’ here other than ‘the guy has totally lost it’ so make it your own and I’ll just shoot it…just growl and snarl and act the fuck out of demented Al and we’ll slap something together in editing…ball’s in your court.”
The terrific scene in question is a riff on Bert Lahr performing “If I Was King Of The Forest” in The Wizard of Oz. It has permanently altered my default imprint of Al “Scarface” Capone. Before it was Robert De Niro swinging a baseball bat in The Untouchables. But henceforth I’ll think of “Fonz” (a nickname used by pallies, short for Alphonse) standing up during a home screening of Oz and singing along with Lahr, and with operatic feeling.
It was the one moment when I sat up on the couch and smiled.
Capone’s mansion is located on a large waterfront lot at 93 Palm Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139. [See photo below.] Capone, which was originally titled Fonzo, was shot in some low-lying swamp region outside New Orleans. Given Capone’s delusional state of mind, Trank decided to depict the Capone mansion as roughly ten times larger than it actually is, and so the property is presented as a cross between Beasts of the Southern Wild and Charles Foster Kane‘s Xanadu.
I for one found this infuriating. Capone can wallow in delirium all he wants, but I wanted the realism of that property.
Capone mansion is redlined — 93 Palm Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139.