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A. Johnson RSS Feed (Iron Mountain, MI)

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DVD ~ Johnny Depp
Price: $4.27
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars George Jung: criminal or hero?, October 4, 2005
This review is from: Blow (DVD)
George Jung is not your typical drug lord. And Blow is not your typical drug-bust movie. This film neither glorifies nor criticizes drugs; it simply shows you the rise and fall of a drug lord's empire. Although it still condones the idea that "if you deal drugs, it won't end well," you can't help but like George Jung, the main character.

Based on a true story, Blow tells the story of George Jung, an American boy born into a middle-class family in the 70's with dreams of breaking away from the blue-collar struggle. George, played by Johnny Depp, and his accomplice/best friend, Tuna, begin their adventure by smuggling large amounts of marijuana from the west coast to the east coast. After doing time for a bust in Chicago, George elevates his ambitions to smuggling cocaine into hijacked airplanes across the border of Mexico. In fact, he acted as an innovator by introducing America to Columbian cocaine. He became a legendary cocaine kingpin, climbing his way to the top. In his venture for fortune, Jung is faced with decisions that will inevitably result in his ruin.

At the end of the movie, you are left to wonder if the protagonist, Jung, is a criminal or a hero? Although Jung made poor decisions, and he must face the music, you're left with the feeling of regret and sympathy for him. In many ways, Jung was simply trying to live the American dream-rising from poverty to fortune. Jung was a businessman, merely pushing a product that the era welcomed with open arms. To quote the real George Jung himself, "I felt that there was nothing wrong with what I was doing because I was supplying a product to people that wanted it and it was accepted." It really makes you question the morality of Jung. The events that seemed the most "wrong" were not that of his drug trafficking, but that of his friends, partners, mother, and wife betraying him throughout his life. Drugs are peripheral in this movie. I feel that Jung lost himself in the wealth and power that the world of cocaine introduced him to. His ambitions blinded him from the important things in life, such as his daughter. He simply went too far. Perhaps it was not the drugs he was addicted to, but rather, the prosperity of his drug career.

The supporting characters were complex and intriguing, making the film more real. George's father, a hard-working and devoted man, stands by George in his ups and downs, despite the fact that he disagrees with his son's career choice. George's money-driven mother seems like no match for his father. The woman George eventually marries, Mirtha, is a replica of his mother. She is a crazed, money-hungry firecracker, responsible for one of his arrests. In fact, there is a scene in the movie where George and Mirtha are fighting in front of their daughter that mirrors that of a fight his parents had in front of him. His friends start out as likable characters. Tuna, his lifelong friend, remains true to George, but eventually fades into the wild lifestyle. Diego, Derek, and Pablo all seem like loyal partners at first, but they all eventually betray him. It is because of them that his final bust took place, putting him in prison for 60 years. These characters, especially Diego, are the type of conniving criminals who come to mind when you think of "drug dealers," not Jung.

At the end of the film, you are left to question the moral of the story. By portraying the life of George Jung is the filmmaker inadvertently saying, "if you deal drugs, this is what happens?" It seems doubtful considering Ted Demme, the director, died of drug overdose shortly after his film was released. However, I think the old saying holds true for this movie. The bigger you are, the harder you fall. As Jung said, "Sometimes you're flush and sometimes you're bust, and when you're up, it's never as good as it seems, and when you're down, you never think you'll be up again, but life goes on."

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