The story of how George Jung, along with the Medellín Cartel headed by Pablo Escobar, established the American cocaine market in the 1970s in the United States.The story of how George Jung, along with the Medellín Cartel headed by Pablo Escobar, established the American cocaine market in the 1970s in the United States.The story of how George Jung, along with the Medellín Cartel headed by Pablo Escobar, established the American cocaine market in the 1970s in the United States.
George Jung, as played by Johnny Depp, is a perpetual ingenue. His character is a catalogue of good looks and sweet gestures, and he has a downright saintliness in his dealings with others that's so slick and saccharine that one can see the con coming from miles away. George is kind to his friends, generous to his business partners, oddly enough always the victim and never the perpetrator of double crossings, and by God, he loves his daughter. I was disappointed that there were no scenes of Johnny Depp administering aid to wounded animals, but it's possible that these were cut to allow the film to run its current six hours in length.
While there's a certain low humour in watching film-makers unknowingly playing the role of patsies, the warped and jagged caricatures Jung's narrative makes of the other people in his story (the better to portray him as Christ) soon nip any fun in the bud. George's mother (Rachel Griffiths, utterly wasted) is a cold, insatiate bitch; his wife (Penelope Cruz, hysterical) is a coke-mad, tantrum throwing ingrate, and his West Coast distributor (Paul Reubens, the less said the better) is a limp wristed fairy (largely, I suspect, so as not to threaten George's position as the film's only sympathetic, attractive, non-ethnic heterosexual male). It's notable that the only female close to Jung who gets anything like a good rap is his flower-child stewardess fiancee Barbara, who rather conveniently drops dead before her relations with him have a chance to sour.
While it's not exactly unentertaining - the film's early-mid section works well as an evocation of sunlit good times - 'Blow's' inherent manipulativeness is never far beneath the surface. Once things go bad for Jung, the film starts to sag in sympathy (literally) with him, and becomes instead a chronicle of Bad and Unjust Things Suffered with Commendable Stoicism by George Jung. My advice would be to have already left the theatre by this point. The ending is painfully overblown and drawn out, and we are forced to endure one of the more 'off' moments in recent cinema as the film primly castigates Jung's daughter for not visiting her father in jail. I'm sure she has her reasons.
- Sep 6, 2001