This is based on the story of George Jung (Johnny Depp), a man that quickly builds a reputation within the drug trade world to rise up and work alongside the Mexican cartel, to establish a thriving cocaine market in the United States. George must do his best to evade the authorities, thus avoiding jail time, along with providing for his family and proving his worth without disappointing anyone around him. A superb movie that is currently streaming on Netflix and one that soon celebrates its twentieth year since being released in 2001.
Director: Ted Demme
Writers: David McKenna, Nick Cassavetes
Starring: Johnny Depp, Ray Liotta, Paul Reubens, Penelope Cruz
After recently reviewing Lord of War (2005), I decided to delve deeper into the filmography of the early 2000’s and watch Blow, a film I’d surprisingly not seen up until this past weekend. One thing worth noting is the fact that this was based on Bruce Porter’s 1993 book, which was centered around the true story of George Jung himself.
In general, the flick seemed to have many strengths but one thing that stood out to me straight away was the nature of the storytelling and the emotional attachment the filmmakers managed to create between the viewer and the characters on display. Despite Johnny Depp’s character, George Jung, breaking the law and being an international drug smuggler, you still found yourself in a position of sympathy towards him when the harsher and more brutal times came his way.
Something else that stood out was the way in which the film effortlessly flowed between the multiple different generations on display. This was despite the movie only having a rather modest, one-hundred and twenty-four-minute runtime. The 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s and even 1990’s were delved into, while the flick seemed to hold up on an authentic level, especially in terms of set and costume design.
In terms of the cast, this was another aspect of the picture that really stood out. As mentioned, Johnny Depp starred as George Jung and did a great job of leading the film, while Ray Liotta was equally as impressive in his role as Fred Jung – George’s father. Elsewhere, Paul Reubens appeared as Derek Foreal, a rather flamboyant hairdresser turned drug dealer that had a fair share of screen time, while Penelope Cruz was convincing in her position as Mirtha Jung – the wife of George.
One other person worth highlighting would be Cliff Curtis, who portrayed the polarising personality, Pablo Escobar. His appearance may have been brief, but it was certainly affective and noteworthy.
Overall, despite several areas of dramatisation, I definately see Blow as a standout flick of this era and one that you should give a shot – and if you’re anything like me, you’ll watch this and end up wanting to re-watch the television show, Narcos, pretty soon after.
“May the wind always be at your back and the sun upon your face.”George Jung – Blow