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Film / Capone

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Capone is a 2020 American crime biopic written and directed by Josh Trank of Chronicle fame.

It chronicles the descent into dementia and retirement in Florida of notorious Italian-American gangster Al Capone (Tom Hardy) after he spent 11 years in prison for tax evasion, and his eventual demise from severe syphilis.

The film also stars Linda Cardellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Jack Lowden, Noel Fisher and Matt Dillon. It was originally intended for theatrical release, but ended up released digitally on May 12, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not to be confused with the 1975 film of the same name starring Ben Gazzara in the title role.

Capone provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Name Change: Capone's real-life doctor was named Kenneth Phillips; here, it is Karlock.
    • (Possibly) a more minor example in that Capone's son is credited as "Junior" when he was really known as "Sonny" in real life.
    • Capone's attorney, Lawrence P. Mattingly, who serves a difference function in the film than in real life (see Composite Character), is here called Harold Mattingly.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Ralphie attempts to be this, to no avail due to Fonse's mental state.
  • Book Ends: The film begins and ends with Fonse imagining a Thanksgiving dinner; one of his possibly imaginary young family members says he is thankful for his back teeth at the first one, while the second one has the boy saying he is thankful for his front teeth.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Capone notoriously shits himself multiple times throughout the film.
  • Broad Strokes: The film plays fast and loose with the circumstances surrounding (and even some of the names of) Capone's family and friends.
  • Cigar Chomper: Capone is almost always seen with a cigar in his mouth, and when he has to quit using his cigar, he replaces it with a carrot a la Bugs Bunny.
  • Composite Character: Capone's two real-life sisters are combined into the fictional Rosie Capone.
    • Harold Mattingly appears to be a conflation of several different attorneys for Capone, including his real-life tax attorney Lawrence P. Mattingly; may also count as Adaptational Job Change.
  • Deconstruction: The film thoroughly demolishes any image of Capone as a legendary tough guy, instead portraying him as a man slowly dying in as gruesome and undignified a fashion as any other man, from a quite drawn out and painful case and sufferance of a nasty STD.
  • Defiant to the End: Deconstructed; Johnny's last words are a defiant "fuck you" to Gino. It only serves to enrage Gino, and make Johnny's death that much more painful.
  • Eye Scream: In one of Capone's fever dreams, his best friend Johnny gouges his own eyes out.
  • Fat Idiot: Capone's bodyguard, Gino.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Fonse switches back and forth between Italian and English on a whim. May have something to do with his declining mental capacity throughout the film.
  • Happily Married: Despite possibly a bit of philandering on Fonse's part, he and Mae were clearly this before the events of the film, and she is clearly devastated to see his mental faculties fall apart before her eyes.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: With his health deteriorating in the most undignified ways possible, his sanity going much the same way, and debt collectors picking apart what's left of his fortune, Fonse's glory days are far behind him. Emphasised during one dream sequence when he looks in the mirror and sees himself as a young man in his prime; the contrast is striking, to say the least.
  • Imagine Spot: Several throughout the film.
  • Large Ham: Perhaps Hardy's hammiest role yet.
  • Mononymous Biopic Title/Protagonist Title: Capone.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Karlock helps the Feds spy on Fonse; of course, Karlock working for a mob boss like Al Capone in the first place could be seen as this.
  • My Greatest Failure: For Fonse it was having Johnny killed.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted; Capone's best friend is named Johnny while his real-life Evil Mentor Johnny Torrio is also referred to as a separate individual.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Capone is called "Fonse" by his friends and family, and is even credited simply as "Fonse".
  • Orcus on His Throne: The entire premise revolves around Capone being this.
  • Sanity Slippage: Capone's dementia worsens as the story goes.
  • Shout-Out: One of Hardy's inspirations for his portrayal of Capone was, of all things, Bugs Bunny, and Junior Capone even name-drops Bugs in the dialogue.
  • Spiteful Spit: Fonse delivers one to Mae.
  • The Starscream: Johnny is implied to have been this.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: The now-decrepit Fonse is married to the lovely Mae.
  • The Un-Favourite: Both Junior and Tommy seem to see themselves as this to some extent.
  • The Unintelligible: Capone himself, due to the dementia.
  • The Unreveal: Fonse's stashed money is never found, if it even existed in the first place.
  • Violence Is Disturbing: The film depicts the violence of being an organised criminal as unflinchingly horrible and not something you want to imitate.