Blow : Movie Review

George Jung once had a lifestyle most would envy; perpetual parties, beautiful women and enough money to sink a battle ship, but George's greed resulted in his self-inflicted downfall.

The story depicts the life of George Jung, an infamous drug baron famed for cocaine smuggling and distribution - some even say Jung started the coke revolution in America in the 1970's and 80's. Blow (2001) follows his life through the eras and graphically exposes the events of underworld drug dealing.

George began his life in Boston (USA); an only child doted on by his ever-loving hard working father, excellently portrayed by Ray Liotta. A boy envied and resented by his neurotic mother (Rachel Griffiths), who rowed incessantly over the family’s lack of money - Jung vowed he would never be like his parents.

Leaving Boston far behind (as much metaphorically as physically), Jung heads for the fruits of Southern California, setting up home with his friend Tuna. He meets and falls in love with airhostess Barbie (Franka Potente), who introduces Jung to small time pot supplier and gay hairdresser, Derek Foreal (Paul Reubens), who sets up in business with George and Tuna, making provisions for an ever demanding public. As the custom expands, George becomes increasingly confident and deals massive amounts of weed smuggled from Mexico, he gets caught and winds up in prison. In jail, he meets and forms an alliance with cocaine smuggler Diego Delgado, who has connections with Pablo Escobar (the most powerful drugs baron ever). Forming a team on the outside, George forms strong alliances and through their connections, meets and marries wild Latin Mirtha (Penélope Cruz). Jung and his Brazilian counterparts set out to fulfill America's 'high' demand for the ultimate party drug, but the buzz of cocaine can only last so long…George knew it couldn't last forever…

George Jung, one of the biggest drug dealers ever to have 'graced' the earth, begs for sympathy and compassion throughout the film, as all things important to him are lost through his own selfish behavior and decisions. We are still left feeling a little sorry for the man, probably partly responsible for many drug related deaths throughout the 70's and 80's. A man who always broke promises to his ever suffering daughter, a child subjected to her parents illicit drug use, a man who lead his life making money from class 'A' narcotic smuggling. The movie, I suspect biographically depicted, is in reality Jung's soft focus version of events.

Our exposure to the under world of drug barons and Escobar's cartel, left a lot to be desired, as our subjection to the real horrors of the drug world was limited. Depp's portrayal of George Jung was perhaps a little too moving for a man whose actions have helped contribute to a cocaine epidemic. Penélope Cruz's interpretation of her character Mirtha, a cocaine ravaged monster whose demand for the highlife lead to the breakdown of her marriage with Jung, was a little over zealous.

Without disputing George Jung's integrity entirely, the film offers a chance to understand the mindset of a narcotics trafficker and dealer, illustrating well the greed and hunger for more when you have everything. If there are any moralistic messages to emerge from this flick, it has to be "money isn't everything". It was Jung's desire to be rich, to avoid an existence like his parents' that resulted in his loss of everything, including the love and respect of his daughter.

This biographical tale of George Jung is duller and less expansive than pre-conceived and fails to shock abundantly, but as the tale is based on a true story, a twisted ending or amazing subplot is probably too much to ask for.

Blow (2001), may not be the hit you're looking for.

Author : Max Willis Of