Film, Thrillers
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Perhaps because it sticks too closely to Bruce Porter's source book, this account of George Jung's rise from small-time dope dealer to major league coke player feels both too long and yet not epic enough; the storyline sprawls over several decades before sliding into sentimental anti-climax. Flashing back from the aged Jung's 'last big deal', it chronicles an unhappy Boston childhood. Jung's post-college escape to California is liberating, as he and his buddies enjoy the beach bum life, with freeloving chicks and a lively trade in marijuana. A prison term brings Jung in contact with Colombian Diego Delgado (Mollá), who helps set him up as the US connection for Pablo Escobar's burgeoning cocaine operation. But as dope-smoking '70s hippie hedonism gives way to snow-nosed '80s greed, friendships are strained, loyalties snap and the whole thing implodes. As the likeable Jung, Depp wears a succession of ill-fitting hippie wigs, drawing attention to his unusually ordinary acting, which feels more like an impersonation than a characterisation. Cruz turns up late in the day, as Jung's second wife Mirtha, but her coke-fuelled Latino spitfire only underscores how the rest of the cast are just coasting towards the disappointing denouement.

By: NF

Release details

Duration: 123 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Ted Demme
Screenwriter: David McKenna, Nick Cassavetes
Cast: Johnny Depp
Franka Potente
Rachel Griffiths
Paul Reubens
Jordi Mollá
Cliff Curtis
Max Perlich
Ray Liotta
Penelope Cruz
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