Blow ★★★

This film focuses on the life of American cocaine smuggler George Jung. Never heard of him? Nope, neither had I, and that for me is one of the reasons this film doesn't quite hit the heights despite the undoubted talent on show. There are characters here that we have heard of like Pablo Escobar, and of course the Medellin Cartel who dominated the drug trade of the seventies and eighties, Johnny Depp's Jung was a new one to me. It has an interesting story-line, but Depp's Jung has very few redeemable qualities to make you root for him. The flash lifestyle, and at the start the camaraderie between him and his friends and flunkies is affable, but the desire for more wealth and the tie-up with the Medellin Cartel and serious cocaine shipments turn him into something more sinister. The human cost of what he does never comes into it, the spiraling violence and suffering caused is little more than a distraction. It all of course ends badly, but it's still an intriguing ride.
This is not one of Depp's better roles or performances. Upstaged by smaller, more impressive turns by Ray Liotta and surprisingly by Paul Reubens (Pee-wee Herman), Depp struggles to fully convince as Boston George. Cliff Curtis also cuts a fine figure as Escobar, but something's missing here to make it anything more than an average biopic about a man few had ever heard of.

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