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Blow is a 2001 drama/biopic film about the Americanmarker cocaine smuggler George Jung, directed by Ted Demme (his final film). David McKenna and Nick Cassavetes adapted Bruce Porter's 1993 book Blow: How a Small Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost It All for the screenplay. It is based on the real life stories of George Jung, Pablo Escobar, Carlos Lehder, and the Medellín Cartel. The film's title comes from a slang term for cocaine.

Plot

The film opens to a young George and his parents Fred (Ray Liotta) and Ermine (Rachel Griffiths). Fred files for bankruptcy and loses everything.

A grown-up George (Johnny Depp) moves to Southern California with his friend "Tuna" (Ethan Suplee) and they plan to earn a living by selling marijuana with the help of Barbara Buckley, girlfriend of George (Franka Potente) who introduces them to her friend/entrepreneur Derek Foreal (Paul Reubens), the main dealer. With Derek's help, George and Tuna make a lot of money. Kevin Dulli (Max Perlich), a college student back in Bostonmarker who is a friend, visits them and tells them of the enormous demand for pot in Boston. With the help of Barbara, an airline stewardess, they start bringing the drugs to Boston.

As the demand grows, they decide to start buying the drugs directly from Mexicomarker with the help of a few Mexican drug lords. George then proceeds on to Chicagomarker to do business, but is caught trying to import 660 pounds of marijuana and he is sentenced to two years. George skips bail to care for his dying girlfriend.

While hiding from the authorities George visits his parents back in Massachusetts. While he is having a heart to heart with his father the police show up and arrest him, having been called by George's mother.

George is now sentenced to twenty-six months in a federal prison, Danbury, CT. His cellmate Diego Delgado (Jordi Molla) has contacts in the cocaine trade in Colombiamarker and convinces George to help him go into business. When George gets out of prison, he violates parole and heads down to Cartagena, Colombia to meet up with Diego. They meet with Cesar Rosa, who represents Pablo Escobar, and negotiate the terms for smuggling 15 kilograms for "good faith". As the smuggling operation grows, Diego gets arrested, leaving George to find a way to sell 55 kilograms of blow and get the money in time. He reconnects with Derek in California, and the two successfully sell all of it in 36 hours, amassing a $1.35 million profit. George is then whisked off to Medellin, Colombia, where he finally meets Pablo Escobar (Cliff Curtis) who agrees to go into business with George and Diego. With the help of main middleman Derek, the pair becomes Pablo's #1 importer. After an altercation with Diego over his "connection", who happened to be Derek, George returns home and vows to leave the drug business forever.

All goes well with George's civilian lifestyle for three years, until his wife Mirtha (Penelope Cruz) organizes a 38th birthday party for him. Many of his former drug business associates attend. The party is raided by police and George is arrested. Following his conviction, he becomes a fugitive dodging his court date. His wife Mirtha causes him to be arrested while driving one night. He is sent to jail for three years and during that sentence Mirtha gives him the news that she wants a divorce and she wants custody of their nine year old daughter, Kristina Sunshine Jung. On his release he finds himself struggling to keep a relationship with his daughter on good terms.

George promises his daughter Kristina a vacation in California and goes into one last deal to garner enough money for the trip. On the deal, he is set up by the FBImarker and DEA, along with old accomplices, and sentenced to 60 years at Otisville Correctional Facility in upstate New York. He explains in the end that the sentence did not bother him so much as the emotional damage he caused on those he loved and how his ambition exceeded his talent.The film closes with George being an old man in prison, imagining that his daughter finally comes to visit him and conversing with him. She slowly fades away as a guard calls for George indicating that she is not real and just an illusion. The film concludes with notes indicating that Jung is still in prison and his daughter, disgusted at his crimes, refuses to speak to him with the final imagery being a photograph of the actual George Jung, an aged and ruined convict.

Cast



Music/Soundtrack

Blow's soundtrack a phenomanal compilation of 70's songs that really set the tone and mood for the movie. The soundtrack features great 13 songs and artists such as: "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" by The Rolling Stones,"All the Tired Horses" by Bob Dylan, "Link Wray" by Rumble, "Glad and Sorry" by Faces, "Strange Brew" by Cream, "Black Betty" by Ram Jam, "Blinded By the Light" by Manfred Mann's Earth Band, "Let's Boogaloo" by Willie Rosario, "Keep It Comin' Love" by KC & the Sunshine Band, Yellow World, "That Smell" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Can't You See" The Marshall Tucker Band, and last but not least "Push & Pull" by Nikka Costa.

Reception

Blow was a minor box office success. With a budget of roughly $53 million, it managed to rake in just under $53 million domestically, but raised just over $30 million internationally for a grand worldwide total of $83,282,296. It gained a greater fan base when released on DVD in late 2002.

Reviews for Blow were decidedly mixed. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film has received a rating of 54%, which is "rotten". Many critics were quick to compare Blow to previous films such as Scarface, Goodfellas, and Boogie Nights, which contained similar plot lines and took place in approximately the same time period (i.e. late 1970s, early 1980s). Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film a positive review, praising the directing of Ted Demme, Johnny Depp's performance, and the screenplay that tells a story without placing any sort of moral judgment on Jung.

Roger Ebert noted the film for its good acting and direction as well, but questioned the value about making Jung the subject of this film: "That's the thing about George [Jung]. He thinks it's all about him. His life, his story, his success, his fortune, his lost fortune, his good luck, his bad luck. Actually, all he did was operate a toll gate between suppliers and addicts. You wonder, but you never find out, if the reality of those destroyed lives ever occurred to him."

Production

Ray Liotta and Rachel Griffiths play Johnny Depp's father and mother, despite Liotta being less than nine years older and Griffiths almost six years younger than Depp.

References



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