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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Blow

Starring: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz
Director: Ted Demme
Rated: R
RunTime: 124 Minutes
Release Date: April 2001
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Franka Potente, Paul Reubens, Ray Liotta, Noah Emmerich, Denis Leary, Lola Glaudini, Max Perlich, Ashley Edner

Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

Put this coke-drenched cautionary caper at the top of your "must see" list. Based on the true life story of George Jung, the first American to become one-man drug conduit, bringing Colombian cocaine into the United States in the '70s and '80s, it chronicles the rise and fall of a crime entrepreneur. Raised by dysfunctional parents, Jung was a money-hungry kid from Massachusetts, stoned in California's sun and surf, when he ran into a sultry stewardess who flew in marijuana from Mexico. So why not cocaine from Colombia? Jung saw himself as an ingenious modern-day pirate, defying politics, governments and the police. Eventually, he self-destructs with hedonism and greed and, as a result, will remain in prison until 2014. As Jung, Johnny Depp delivers a wickedly faceted display of acting prowess, filled with detail and specificity. Ray Liotta and Rachel Griffiths are poignant as Jung's troubled parents. Paul Reubens (a.k.a. Pee-Wee Herman) scores as a homosexual airdresser/dealer, Franka Potente's vibrancy glows as Jung's giddy girl-friend, and Penelope Cruz snarls as the selfish, spoiled shrew who becomes his wife. Too bad that the hyperambitious but predictably formulaic script by Nick Cassavetes and David McKenna is clich=E9-riddled and fragmented in its condensation of Bruce Porter's book and that director Ted Demme relies so much on Depp's voice-over narration as the third-act disintegrates into a banal morality morass. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Blow" is a disturbing 8, a chilling saga that gets under your skin in its assertion that there's simply no way to stop the importation of drugs into this country. Although it will inevitably be compared to "Traffic," "Boogie Nights," "Casino" and "Goodfellas," "Blow" is a definite must-see.

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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