Blow (2001) – Review

Johnny Depp stars as George Jung, a drug dealer with heart...

Never has a story about a drug trafficking criminal been so heart warming and yet so heart breaking. A film that makes the audience feel a full spectrum of emotion, Blow is based on the true story of George Jung, a young man from humble beginnings that grew to be one of the biggest drug dealers in America during the late 70’s and early 80’s. charting his rise to infamy from his first deals selling weed on a beach in California to striking up a business partnership with the most infamous drug dealer Pablo Escobar, the movie doesn’t portray George, played by Johnny Depp, as a sleazy drug dealer but one that seems intelligent and, for want of a better word, good.

Blow begins in the fun-loving 60’s where jokes and happiness abound. The movie moves through to the 70’s and then on into the 80’s where things take on a much darker, more emotional feel.

Depp plays George perfectly and creates a warm relationship with the audience by showing the true feelings of a person in George’s situation. Even though being one of the biggest drug dealers, Depp manages to show that he is still human and capable of being hurt and feeling emotion himself. His performance blows the audience away and is a real stand out piece for Johnny Depp.

Blow is beautifully filmed by director Ted Demme and each shot is pleasing to the eye. Everything, from the lighting and sets to even the soundtrack are pieced together seamlessly. The screenplay itself is adapted for screen perfectly from the biography of George Jung by author Bruce Porter. Adapted by David McKenna and Nick Cassavetes, who instead of portraying George Jung as just a drug trafficker and addict, flesh out the film’s lead and portray him as someone who can be seen as leading a very tragic and unfortunate life. Although they perhaps shouldn’t, the audience feel a great sense of misery and pity towards him. The two writers expertly pick out the parts of his life that have truly shaped him as a person; from the relationship he has with his father to the tragic passing of his first girlfriend, the break down of his relationship with his wife and how his daughter is taken from him.

The film’s most heart breaking moment emerges when George carries out one final trafficking job with so he can start a new life with his daughter – instead of offering him the life he craves he finds himself set up and arrested. The heart break that he feels can be clearly seen and the audience cannot help but feel for him. The audience feels angry at him for deciding to do this job but at the same time they can feel his agony as he breaks a promise to his daughter who never sees him again.

Overall this movie isn’t just about drug trafficking and illegal activities. Yes it contains that, but it is more about the person – his inner turmoil, struggles and tragedies in his life. This is a film that shouldn’t be missed.

Best line: ‘I can’t feel my face, I mean I can touch it but I can’t feel it.’
Best scene: The ending where George imagines his daughter visiting him in prison. It is a masterpiece.
Best relationship: The chemistry between Depp and Penelope Cruz, who plays George’s wife, is outstanding.

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