BLU-RAY/DVD REVIEWS

003557Reviews & Counting
SEARCH BY TITLE # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Blow (Steelbook Edition)
BLU-RAY disk
Jun 18, 2012 By: Chris Bumbray
Blow (Steelbook Edition) order download
Director:
Ted Demme

Actors:
Johnny Depp
Penelope Cruz
Paul Reubens

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

star Printer-Friendly version
comment
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The true story of George Jung (Johnny Depp), who- throughout the late-seventies/ early-eighties, was responsible for 89% of the cocaine smuggled into the United States. The film charts his humble beginnings as a pot dealer, through his rise to power with the Medellin Carter- through his relationship with Pablo Escobar, to his eventual fall from grace.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I remember being particularly impressed with Ted Demmes BLOW when I saw it in theaters- way back in the spring of 2001. At the time, Johnny Depp wasnt what he is today- meaning the anchor of billion dollar franchises. Rather, he was an idiosyncratic actor, just coming off FEAR & LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS.

This is the Depp that I like, and I wish hed take a break from Jack Sparrow, or Tonto, and get back to his roots- in a serious, gritty drama like this. BLOW goes hand-in-hand with his earlier DONNIE BRASCO, and while in that film he played second banana to Al Pacino, here he holds the screen all on his own, as Jung. A fascinating figure, Demme clearly sympathizes with the man. While he helped flood the American streets with coke, and paved the way for crack, hes painted as a relatively benign guy- just trying to make that all important buck.

Unlike most other gangsters, guns and coke flicks, BLOW is surprisingly short on violence. Jung was no SCARFACE, and never resorted to violence, just being the middle man. Like all classic gangsters, he has the come-up, culminating in his dominance of coke in the U.S, and his marriage to Columbian princess Penelope Cruz (one of her first big American films). And then, the inevitable come-down, as he spirals into an out-of-control coke addiction, and has to deal with rivals trying to usurp his connections.

Jungs redeemed here by the love he has for his young daughter- played by a ten-year-old Emma Roberts- but his desire to supply her with a stable home leads to his final defeat. All told, Jungs rags-to-riches-to-rags story is an American classic, and the man is brilliantly portrayed by Depp, and it amazed me this was shut out of the Oscars (thanks mostly to New Lines questionable move to open this in the spring, although the film still grossed a solid $50 million). The supporting cast is similarly good, with Ray Liotta (star of GOODFELLAS, to which this has a lot of similarities) in a surprisingly touching performance as Jungs dad. Paul Reubens, aka Pee Wee Herman plays the unlikely part of Jungs main coke distributor, but he nailed the part- and its a surprise it didnt lead to more dramatic parts.

The real tragedy of BLOW has to be director Ted Demme. A seminal figure at MTV (his baby, YO MTV RAPS is responsible for bringing hip-hop to the mainstream), BLOW was by fire his finest film, and it seemed like he was bound to make more great films. Alas, Demme didnt heed his own films warnings about the dangers of coke, and died just a few months after this came out, despite only being in his thirties. While he didnt OD, cocaine was found in his system, and many have speculated that drugs played a part in his early demise. This is a real tragedy, as he likely had lots of good films left in him.
THE EXTRAS
The extras here are all ported over from the infinifilm DVD that came out- in a bizarre bit of trivia, on September 11th 2001. I know, because I was actually picking the DVD up on my way to school when news started getting out about the attacks.

That grisly bit of trivia aside, it was a great disc, chalkful of insightful extras, and theyre all here- most in 1080p to boot. My favorite features are the character testimonials which to me feel as essential as anything in the film. The deleted scenes are also excellent. Ted Demme is on hand for the commentary track along with the now-deceased George Jung- with them recording this from prison. Extracts from Demmes interviews with Jung are also here, along with a solid little documentary on Cocaines effect on Columbia, called Lost Paradise along with another piece on addiction, called Body & Soul which plays like it was tacked on by an overly cautious studio. Theres also the trailer and some nifty production diaries .
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Twelve years later, BLOW stands as one of my favorite crime sagas, perhaps just a notch below the giants (GOODFELLAS, GODFATHER, SCARFACE), but close enough that I try to watch this every 2-3 years. Its a great film, and worth the boost to HD.
Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

4:13AM on 06/18/2012
You mistakenly said George Jung was dead instead of Ted Demme. Jung is still alive and scheduled for release very soon from Prison. Demme unfortunately is deceased. Great movie, talented people.
You mistakenly said George Jung was dead instead of Ted Demme. Jung is still alive and scheduled for release very soon from Prison. Demme unfortunately is deceased. Great movie, talented people.
Your Reply:



JoBlo's T-Shirt Shoppe | support our site... Wear Our Gear!