Capone, the Josh Trank directed biopic featuring Tom Hardy in the lead role as Al Capone, released directly to streaming a few days ago. The reaction of critics to the film have been decidedly mixed, and leaning towards the negative in their overall assessment. For Trank, Capone is the start of his second run in Hollywood after missing from the scene for many years, and he is not letting the negative press get him down.
"I don't want to say I'm not surprised. It was hard to tell what the reactions were going to be, because from where I stand, I love the movie deeply. I love the movie so much, I'm so proud of it. There's nothing anybody could tell me about this movie that would make me feel any less of the amount of love that I have for it."
The film currently holds a critical rating of 39% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is hardly stellar. For Josh Trank, this whole experience is a repeat of what happened with his last film, the much-maligned Fantastic Four from 2015, and that allows him a better perspective in terms of how movie critics respond to his work.
"The bad reviews on Fantastic Four,' for me, were not talking about anything that I felt a connection to, because it was a lot of stuff that I didn't have anything to do with. The stuff that [reviews were] talking about that was a result of my own work, I felt wasn't even presented in the film in such a way that I could raise my hand and be like, 'Yeah, I did that.' I did it, but I couldn't look at those reviews and hold them up to my face like a mirror."
This time around, however, instead of feeling no ownership over the parts of the film that critics have lambasted, Trank feels the opposite, a certain vindication in having made the kind of film he truly wanted to make. A film that makes the audience feel uncomfortable.
"But with the worst reviews of this movie, they do feel like a mirror, but in a way that doesn't make me feel ashamed. It just makes me feel like I'm on the right track with this. I don't know if that sounds smug or anything, but it is a movie that has everything right there for you to see. He's shitting himself. He's mentally deteriorating. It's not pretty. It's an ugly, uncomfortable movie. If that makes you angry, then I guess it worked. That doesn't bother me. I'm not worried about a Rotten Tomatoes percentage or anything."
Far from being cowed down by the reaction of critics, Trank believes his latest project is what the film industry needs, which is a brand of cinema that does not try to placate audiences, but forces them to engage at an intellectual level with what is being shown onscreen.
"I think that there's room for more strange, off-putting films that feel more akin to something you would see in an art gallery that kicks you in the balls a little bit and makes you kind of think. It's OK if you feel offended, that's good, it's good to get that emotion out of people. I don't think that those kinds of movies have been a part of our conversation recently enough so that a lot of people can really know what they're looking at."
This news originated at Indiewire.com.