by Jazmine Ponce
Cocaine, snow, blow — they all describe the white-powdered drug of choice during the excess world of the ’70s and ’80s that seduced millions to indulge. Along for the dangerous ride was George Jung, a typical young man out to conquer the American dream of success, money and happiness.
When given the chance, he does it his own way by importing and trafficking mass quantities of cocaine to the United States. Only what looked like the ultimate dream soon dissolved into a lonely nightmare.
“Blow” directed by Ted Demme is an exciting, emotional, funny and poignant drama. “Blow,” opens today and is based on the true story of Jung, a man’s unbelievable story of love, drugs, greed, ambition and a timeline of America’s obsessions with drugs. Demme distinctively sets the tone and images of this true story as the audience is brought into the wild magical world of excess and back in time to the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.
Johnny Depp masterfully plays Jung at all angles, mastering a tour de force of emotions.
Depp does exceptionally well as Jung, completely transforming himself and creating another performance that clearly shows he is one of the most talented and unique actors of his time.
The film starts out with Jung’s struggling childhood. Ray Liotta plays father Fred Jung, a hard working man who despite his son’s shortcomings believes in him. Rachel Griffiths plays his mother, a woman who values money and often, dissatisfied with her life would leave her family months at a time.
Jung realizes that though he admires his father, he did not want to work hard like him and not worry about money like his mother.
During the beach bum “California dreaming” years of the late ’60s, Jung moves to California and meets his love Barbara (Franka Potente). She is a flight attendant who leads him to his first drug experience and contact with the flamboyant hairdresser/pot dealer Derek Foreal played hilariously by Paul Reubens.
Reubens known to many, as his former character, PeeWee Herman, is memorable as he brings depth, honesty and comic relief stealing the spotlight half the time as the outrageous Foreal.
Soon Jung makes a name for himself stealing planes and selling pot. With the help of Barbara’s position, he begins to import quantities from Mexico all over the states.
For a while the life is great money, glamour, and love. But because of a mishap in Chicago, an emotional tragedy and skipping bail lands him in jail for two years.
While in jail, he meets Diego Delgado (Jordi Molla), who insists he has contacts to the ever-growing Columbia drug trade.
Soon after getting out of jail Jung steps into the seedy, greedy decadent world and lifestyle of cocaine. Enlisting his “California connection,” Foreal and gaining the approval of the Medellin Cartel drug czar Pablo Escobar, Jung and Delgado create one of the biggest import of cocaine to the United States. They make so much money that there was no place to put it. Happy with his fortune and fame, Jung marries Mirtha (Penelope Cruz); a wild party-hardy woman enticed and addicted. She desperately clings to the lifestyle and drug of choice that she is and unrealistic when it soon dissolves.
During a confrontation of betrayal between a close colleague, Jung leaves the trade business. The birth of his daughter has him realize that he must devote himself to making her happy for she is his “heart.” Before long the sweet temptation and addiction bring Jung back to make a miscalculated choice and cause him to lose everything, including what he wanted most of all: the love of his daughter as well as his freedom.
The film works from a remarkably powerful script written by David McKenna, who wrote the acclaimed “American History X,” and Nick Cassavetes. Filled with quick-witted jokes, and compelling dialogue it creates three-dimensional characters that the audience cares for.
The wonderful script is supported by a handful of great American and international actors who bring flavor to the world and life of Jung.
The relationship between Jung, his daughter and his father is one of the most entertaining and emotional story arches. The last 10 to 15 minutes of the movie which delve into Jung’s life altering decision and repercussions. It is filmed and acted so poignantly and emotionally driven one can feel the heartache of this broken man, a man who brought about his own hell because of mistaken choices.
“Blow,” will most likely appeal to all ages. It is a film that is sad and funny, honest and real. Those who have dealt with life-altering choices or who are currently juggling with them should take a serious look at the story of Jung. Though the movie is centered on one man’s plight, it contains a universal quality that shows that in life one should take care with the choices they make. With each choice one makes there lies underlying consequences, some may send one up and some may send one down. For Jung, he had to learn it the hard way.