Crime never pays!
Johnny Depp is a favorite actor of mine and here he is positively convincing as notorious drug dealer George Jung who is sentenced to prison for life. Jung was one of the first to bring Colombian drugs into the United States in large amounts. The movie traces his rise from a beach bum selling joints to an international cocaine kingpin who develops an efficient network of contacts. Johnny Depp as Jung dominates almost every scene. However, his character did not seem ruthless enough for a top dealer. I don't believe dealers at that level are as charismatic and personable as he is in the film. Nevertheless the one thing that separates this from other films of similar ilk is that we actually learn to love George. When things are going bad for him, we share his pain.
Over the span of just over twenty years, Jung goes from being small-time dealer to major trafficker. Make no mistake about it, though, the movement of his soul is steadily only going down and finally, of course, his too-late realization that the only thing of any value in his life is his little daughter whose life he is managing to screw up in a royal way. He wants to go straight for her, but all he knows is drug dealing. Eventually his "profession" costs him even her.
Ray Liotta is solid in this role as Jung’s dad. He is truly believable as a caring, loving, and very understanding, father. His wife, on the other hand, is a very unhappy woman who just can't be pleased. After his father loses the company and files for bankruptcy, a very young George makes a vow to himself that he will never wind up like his father. Unfortunately he only duplicates his father's poor choice in a marriage partner when he hooks up with Penelope Cruz who plays Mrs. Jung as a one-dimensional selfish bitch whose character is completely unlikeable.
Blow is certainly noTraffic or Scarface, but there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours.