Blow takes us into the life of George Jung, the man who started the cocaine inlet into the United States, presenting a side of him that few consider, as a husband, loving father, and a person only wanting to make it ahead in life. Of course, the movie doesn't glamorize the lifestyle, showing the many ups and downs that come with drug smuggling, and what eventually happens to those who play the game for too long.
Johnny Depp is Jung, and he turns in one of his most riveting performances to date. Depp, known for taking the more offbeat roles, is perfect as the long-haired, 1970's style-to-the-bone cocaine dealer who just wants to provide some security for his daughter. Still, as nicely as the movie treats Jung, you can see the sadness in Depp's eyes as the movie gets into the later moments, as his character is realizing that all the money in the world can't bring happiness (sort of the cliché saying brought about in a non-cliché kind of way). The latter half is where Depp really shines, as he brings the conflicting torments of the character to the screen.
Ray Liotta also delivers a good performance as Jung's father (although in real life they only have an 8 year difference), as the knowing workingman who tries to help lead Jung to a better lifestyle without forcing him to. He turns in some good and memorable lines.
Blow from a technical viewpoint is also a work of art, combining some pretty creative direction with an upbeat soundtrack that really does a good job of exemplifying the mood at the time.
Blow does have some problems here and there. At times, it sort of lags in excitement, having small stretches where the drama just isn't very entertaining. I think more depth could have been brought to Penelope Cruz's character; after all, she does portray Jung's wife. The movie decides to jump ahead to present time where Depp is a little older, but the scene seems a little force and unnecessary, since we already know that Jung is currently in prison. I guess the director just wanted to give his makeup artist a challenge.
For the most part, Blow is a very well done movie. It isn't as good as some of the other movies to come out recently, like Requiem for a Dream and Traffic, but is at the same time quite a bit different from those movies. It is a good drama with good acting and a good script, and that's all you need to know that it is a movie worth seeing.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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