Escobar: Paradise Lost **
Dir: Andrea di Stefano. With: Benicio del Toro, Josh Hutcherson, Claudia Traisac, Ana Girardot. 120 mins. Cert: 15
An odd one, this: a not-quite biopic that approaches Colombian druglord Pablo Escobar from an entirely fictional perspective. Arriving at Escobar’s compound after wooing his niece, gringo surfer Nick (Josh Hutcherson) is presumably meant to stand for all those patsies who enabled the tyrant’s behaviour, yet Hutcherson – blandly conflicted, woodenly agonised – is just too blank for the screen time he sucks up. The final hour, defaulting to conventional escape-thriller mode, remains halfway watchable: Benicio del Toro, getting blood and cheeseballs in a ferociously unkempt beard, has fun playing Escobar as the world’s deadliest slob. Still, there’s too much fabrication evident for it to resemble anything like truth.
Escobar: Paradise Lost opens today in selected cinemas, ahead of its DVD release on September 14.