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(Review originally written at 16 August 2005)

Instead of an heavy drama, I would rather describe this movie as a fun light dramatic biography. The story is told kind of in the style as "Goodfellas", it still features plenty of heavy moments but still the movie has a very high entertainment value. Only thing it that this movie is nowhere as brilliant as "Goodfellas" mainly because Ted Demme was no Scorsese and George Jung is no Henry Hill. It's very obvious that Demme was heavily inspired by "Goodfellas", (is that also the reason Ray Liotta was in this movie?) even some of the same movie techniques are used.

That this movie is one sided is in my opinion no complaint. A biography should in my opinion always be one sided and glorifying, or justifying of the character is good as long as its good for the movie its story. I mean, let's be fair, when you want to learn something about somebodies live you don't watch a movie about him or her, you read a book or watch a documentary. Movies will always be made with a certain amount of entertainment or over-dramatized moments.

Problem is that the movie is simply way too short to tell the entire 'criminal-career' of George Jung and his personal life. The movie makes too many jumps into time, basically almost every sequences are set months or even years apart of each other. To symbolizes this, Johnny Depp basically has a different haircut in almost literally every scene he is in, which sadly became a bit irritating after a while. Because the movie made so many jumps, you never really get into the characters and therefor most of the emotional scene's didn't quite worked out the way they were supposed to. You also never really get to feel any of the fear or dangers of Jung's 'profession' because of this.

Depp does his job but his role is nothing spectacular. To be honest, even though I have been a Depp fan since years, I would had rather seen a different actor in the role of George Jung, because Johnny Depp is well, just too Johnny Depp, if you know what I mean.

Despite me perhaps sounding negative about it, this movie is still one that's worth your time. I enjoyed watching it and even though Ted Demme's unfortunately drug related early death made this movie more legendary then it in fact is, it's still one that I find to be a recommendable one to watch.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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