NEW YORK (CNS) -- Scarface goes bugsy in "Capone" (Vertical). This biographical drama tracks the last year in the life of legendary Chicago kingpin Al Capone (1899-1947) -- played with intensity by Tom Hardy -- as his mind disintegrates from the effects of neurosyphilis. It makes for queasy viewing.
Recently paroled on grounds of declining health, the tax evasion convict rambles around his Palm Island, Florida, mansion hallucinating and grunting incoherently. Much attention in the film is devoted to another of his symptoms, incontinence. His physician, Dr. Karlock (Kyle MacLachlan), who has infiltrated the household with ulterior motives, helpfully suggests that he start wearing diapers.
His loyal wife, Mae (Linda Cardellini), tries to comfort the gaga gangster and his estranged son, Tony (Mason Guccione), works from a distance to reestablish their relationship. But the visit of Johnny (Matt Dillon), an old associate, eventually stirs up traumatic memories of the past.
Hideously graphic in its portrayal of mob cruelty, writer-director and editor Josh Trank's deeply unpleasant profile is otherwise largely pointless. Hardy may be quite convincing, but since it's impossible to sympathize with Capone, the murderer of more than 30 people, what is the audience supposed to take away from the arduous experience of spending an hour and three quarters in his company?
Trank avoids what must have been the tempting option of using Capone's final days as a framing device for a full survey of his career. But what flashbacks there are include a brutal beating and fountains of blood while our introduction to Johnny finds him coupling feverishly with a woman who may or may not be his wife.
Take the cannoli, leave the movie alone.
The film contains scenes of excessively gory violence including torture, gruesome sites, explicit sexual activity, much scatological material, at least one mild oath, pervasive rough language, about a half-dozen crude terms and an obscene gesture. The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.