Film, Thrillers

Time Out says

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.


Release details

123 mins

Cast and crew

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