George Jung (Johnny Depp), having seen his parents defeated by poverty vows to do better for himself and when his marajuana dealing operation lands him in jail the chance to join the drugs big league beckons. On release, George seizes the opportunities of the 1970s American cocaine boom, establishing himself as the man behind 85% of the country's entire supply. But George doesn't have the icy determination for a business that is lethal to its own, and soon his relationship with Mirtha (Penelope Cruz) is on the rocks and his business dissolving around him. Based on a true story.
A briskly paced hybrid of Boogie Nights
chronicles the three-decade rise and fall of George Jung (Johnny Depp), a normal American kid who makes a personal vow against poverty, builds a marijuana empire in the 1960s, multiplies his fortune with the Colombian Medellín cocaine cartel, and blows it all with a series of police busts culminating in one final, long-term jail sentence. "Your dad's a loser," says this absentee father to his estranged but beloved daughter, and he's right: Blow
is the story of a nice guy who made wrong choices all his life, almost single-handedly created the American cocaine trade and got exactly what he deserved. Directed by Ted Demme, the film is vibrantly entertaining, painstakingly authentic... and utterly aimless in terms of overall purpose. We can't sympathise with Jung's meteoric rise to wealth and the wild life, and Demme isn't suggesting that we should idolise a drug dealer. So what, exactly, is the point of Blow
? Simply, it seems, to present Jung's story as the epitome of the coke-driven glory days, and to suggest, ever so subtly, that Jung isn't such a bad guy, after all. Anyone curious about his lifestyle will find this film amazing, and there's plenty of humour mixed with the constant threat of violence and paranoid anxiety. Demme has also populated the film with a fantastic supporting cast (although Penelopé Cruz grows tiresome as Jung's hedonistic wife), and this is certainly a compelling look at the other side of Traffic
. Still, one wishes that Blow
had a more viable reason for being: like a wild party, it leaves you with a hangover and a vague feeling of regret. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com