Blow is a 2001 American dramatic film directed by Ted Demme and written by David McKenna and Nick Cassavetes. It stars Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Jordi Mollà, Paul Reubens, Franka Potente and Ray Liotta. It is based on the book Blow: How a Small-Town Boy Made $100 Million With the Medellín Cocaine Cartel and Lost It All, originally published in 1993 by Bruce Porter and inspired by real events.
The ending of Blow might not be confusing for all people, but we have still decided to explain what actually happened in the end of the movie. We are going to analyze the narrative elements of the story, as well as the meaning of the final scene, and how it all connects to the real-life story that inspired the events and characters depicted in the movie.
What happens in Blow?
George Jung grew up in a middle-class family. His beloved father Fred works as a heating engineer, but cannot financially satisfy the narcissistic mother. George soon realizes that he never wants to live like this. After school he moves to California with his friend Tuna. It’s hippie time. On the beach he meets Marihuana and the stewardess Barbara.
Through her, he meets barber Derek Foreal, the local marijuana dealer. George gets into the dealer business and, with the help of Barbara, who commutes between the coasts as a stewardess, is soon able to build up a large customer base on the East Coast as well. With demand soaring and unhappy with the middleman’s profits, he travels to Mexico to buy directly from a marijuana grower in bulk.
He transports them across the border in a stolen Cessna. One day, George is caught with more than 800 pounds of marijuana and sentenced to prison. However, he does not go into detention, but goes into hiding to stay with Barbara, who is suffering from cancer, until she dies.
When he visits his parents, still on the run from the law, his mother alerts the police because she doesn’t condone his dealings and has an extremely strained relationship with him. So he is still incarcerated. In prison, George meets the Colombian Diego Delgado. This draws his attention to cocaine and, after her release, helps him to meet with Colombian dealers.
After a few smaller deals, they finally meet Pablo Escobar, also known as: El Padrino. They do business with him and start importing cocaine into the States from Colombia. He organizes distribution again through Derek, his secret “California connection”. In California, the needs of the music and show business clientele became so great that George became the largest cocaine dealer in the USA.
Within a short period of time, he earns millions of dollars, which he deposits in a bank in Panama. George meets Mirtha, a young Colombian woman and the fiancée of one of his business partners. They fall in love and celebrate life with alcohol and illegal drugs, especially cocaine. George becomes heavily addicted and sometimes loses touch with reality.
His business partners – especially Diego Delgado – seize the opportunity and start to put him out of business. They succeed after George reveals the identity of Derek Foreal after an argument with Diego. He soon learns that Diego is working with Derek behind his back, and he was put out of business as a result. George collapses in the delivery room when his daughter Kristina is born.
The doctor treating him later draws his attention to the effects of his addiction, and George gets his life under control enough to get clean. On his 38th birthday, George is arrested again during an excessive drug-involved party. In order to exonerate his family, he signs a deal with the prosecutor’s office, accepts all the blame and is released on bail.
When he wants to withdraw his money in Panama, he is told that the bank that managed the money has since been nationalized by Noriega’s regime. However, Mirtha does not want to reduce her standard of living and leaves George because suddenly there is no more money. George then tries another cocaine deal. While driving, he gets into such a fight with Mirtha that the car goes off the road.
A police car that happens to be driving behind them stops the car and the cops try to calm Mirtha down. She accuses George of wanting to rape her and having cocaine in the trunk. As a result, he is arrested. While George is in prison, Mirtha separates from him, and his daughter Kristina is also disappointed.
How does Blow end?
After the release, however, George is slowly able to reconnect with her (about nine years old now). George tries to reconcile with Mirtha so he can see his daughter more. In return, however, Mirtha demands an additional payment of maintenance for the last few years. So in 1994, George plans one last deal with old friends and new partners to pay off his wife and start a new life in California with his daughter.
However, the deal turns out to be a booby trap for the DEA and the FBI, and George is sentenced to 60 years in prison (of which he must serve 20 years) as a repeat offender. What remains are Kristina and George’s unfulfilled promise to be there for them. While in prison, he imagines being visited by his daughter. In the credits, however, the viewer learns that Kristina has never visited her father before. After that, a photo of the real George Jung is shown.
Was Blow based on a true story?
As you have probably deduced by now, George Jung’s story, as depicted in Blow, is a slightly fictionalized version of true events that transpired in Jung’s life. Namely, during this first twenty-six month stay in Danbury prison for marijuana trafficking, George Jung met the German-Colombian Carlos Lehder in March 1974 who gave him access to the powerful and international cartel of Medellín.
In return, George Jung taught him the basics of drug smuggling. In April 1975, when Jung and Lehder were released from prison, they became business partners. Their wish is to import hundreds of kilos of cocaine from the Colombian ranch of Escobar by air to the United States. The Californian relay of Jung in the person of Richard Barile will be very useful to them.
Jung has a bodyguard come with him for the exchanges, he gives the man the keys to a car and half the cocaine and the man leaves. A day or two later, they meet again and exchange car keys, one containing the other half of the cocaine and the other the money. Although being a simple intermediary, Jung accumulates a fortune of 100 million $.
He came up with the idea of flying single-engine planes for transport and taking $10,000 per kilo for five flights from Colombia to California, carrying 300 kilos per flight. It earns him 15 million per trip. In the 1970s, Jung earned between 3 and 5 million a day. To avoid having to launder the money, he stores his money in the National Bank of Panama.
At the end of the 1970s, he was doubled by Ledher who deprived him of his contact, Barile, in the United States. His friendship with Pablo Escobar allowed him to continue his trade independently. Official supplier to rock and movie stars, George Jung amassed a fortune of over one hundred million dollars. In 1987, George Jung was arrested at his residence in Nauset Beach, near Eastham, Massachusetts.
With his family in town, he escapes bail, but soon finds himself embroiled in another case, in which an acquaintance betrays him. With Escobar’s agreement, Jung testified against Ledher, the latter is extradited and Jung is released shortly afterwards. He would, once again, end up in prison after a while; he died as a free man in 2021 in his apartment in Boston, MA.
And this is how it all evolved. Most of Blow is pretty straightforward in narrative terms, so there’s nothing much to explain. What mostly intrigued people is whether it was based on a true story and we have, by giving you an insight into one portion of Jung’s life that explains the majority of the events depicted in the movie. You can compare them and notice the fictionalizations, but you’ll find that most of the details and facts depicted in the movie are true, which is what you came for here; we hope this article helps you understand Blow a bit better.