Directed by Ted Demme
Reviewed by MaT, added on Jan 1 2005
"Blow" is based on the true story of George Jung, who became one of the world's biggest importers of cocaine into the United States. The film stars Johnny Depp as George, and chronicles his early life, beginning with him as a young boy in an economically struggling family, then to a 20-something marijuana traffiking wunderkid, and finally to meeting the infamous Pablo Escobar and becoming the link to cocaine shipped into America in the late 70's - mid 80's.
This movie covers a lot of ground and has many, many different characters. We meet just about everyone in George's life. From his original girlfriend, to his partner in the cocaine business, to his coked out Columbian wife and even Pablo Escobar. Hell, even Pee Wee Herman makes an appearance (albeit as a gay drug dealer in California). Although the acting was great, one of my biggest problems with this movie is that it throws so many different personalities at the viewer, that you don't get to really understand what a lot of the motivations are. For example, throughout the first part of the movie, George protects his friend and dealer in Cali, Derek Foreal (played by Reubens) from the Columbians. He refuses to give them his friend's name, even when threatened. Yet when he finally ends up having too, his friend, Foreal, double crosses him with his partner Diego. The movie skips over the reason why and moves onto other topics. I would have liked to know why his friend decided to backstab him. Some more development would have been nice.
A lot of the movie is like that. His Columbian wife (played by Penelope Cruz) goes from a loving coke addict of a wife, to a psycho, money grubbing bitch who likes to freak out on him while he's driving cars. Once again, the movie doesn't focus on why this happens, it just shows it happening. Its hard to get into characters when they are under-developed, and this movie was full of them. Which was a shame since the acting is top-notch.
The underlying element of the movie is his relationship with his father (Ray Liotta) and his young daughter (Emma Roberts). Liotta puts in a great performance as the father who loves his son to the very end. The lessons he teaches George as a young boy come back full circle by the end of the film. The second half of the film focused more on his love for his daughter and the crumbling relationship they have due to his constant drug convictions. Its really a sad thing to see. On the other hand, it seems kind of silly that after he gets out of the business for good, he can't/won't (?) find a job to help with child support and alimony, which is all he needs to do to see her on a regular basis. Instead, he decides to go on one last big drug run and well...you can guess what happens. Its hard to feel sorry for someone like that, no matter how hard a movie tries to make him sympathetic.
Overall, this was a decent film that had some outstanding acting, but was filled with too many under-developed characters, and I guess above everything else....this guy's life story just isn't that interesting in the overall grand scheme of things. Yeah, he transported cocaine, but for the most part nothing really exciting happened (its kind of hard to explain that last sentence. You'll have to watch the movie for yourself to understand.) Now a story about Pablo Escobar...now THAT would be exciting!