on 3 November 2004
The very fact that Brian De Palma directed this film is a signal that this film is of a very high standard. Before Carlito's way he'd already directed Scarface, Carrie, The Untouchables, Casualties of War, and many many more, but this film with the possible exception of Scarface is, in my opinion, his best work.
The film depicts the life of a former Puerto Rican drug lord Carlito Berganzi (Al Pacino) from the moment his appeal is succesful and he is released from a 30 year prison sentence after serving only 5 years. Carlito pledges to keep his hands clean of any criminal activities...but Carlito sitting at home watching Trisha and drinking tea simply didn't cut it with the filming commission so instead he gets dragged down into the underworld yet again, mostly by his cocaine-addicted lawyer David Kleinfeld (Sean Penn), whilst the opposing force in Carlito's life, Gail (Penelope Ann Miller) tries desperately to pull him back to a normal, crime-free life.
The film is beautifully shot and there is no moment in the film, ever, when you think "oo I'll just pause it so I can go and make myself a coffee"...I have the attention span of a goldfish, and can rarely watch a 2hr 24mins movie without having a break in the middle for coffee, but this movie was non-stop and kept me completly engaged, 100%, from start to finish.
I don't need to tell you that Al Pacino does an awesome job...you already knew that, but Sean Penn and Penelope Ann Miller compliment Pacino's incredble acting skills perfectly.
If you are a fan of gangster/mob films (Scarface, Casino, Goodfella's, The Godfather Trilogy, etc) then you absoultely must see this film, NO gangster film collection can ever be complete without this momentous film.
This film is fully deserving of each and every one of the five stars I've given it!
on 23 September 2007
Based on novels by Edwin Torres, this heartfelt gangster flick makes for a fine sequel to Scarface - or at the very least a very welcome revisiting for Al Pacino and director Brian de Palma.
David Koepp's script paints a picture of a mean New York, full of thuggish opportunists and snivelling cowards (Viggo Mortensen's slimy Lalin is a must-see for all Lord of the Rings fans wishing to see that actor's range). And at the centre of it all is Pacino's Puerto Rican Carlito: relocated, reinvigorated; reborn and going straight... or so he hopes.
There's something undeniably tragic about Carlito's plight. It provides a lovely narrative goal; while lawyer and best friend David Kleinfeld (Sean Penn) wilfully digs his way into a violent criminal world, Carlito wants out - and he wants to bring his stripper girlfriend Gail (a miscast Penelope Ann Miller) with him. Oliver Stone's wickedly cynical script for Scarface described a conceited monster; it's easier to warm to this redeemed version: still artful and egotistic, and yet blessed - or, as it happens, cursed - with a shrouded sense of morality.
The representation of the relationship between Carlito and Gail is mawkish, but it's worth remembering that this is a portrait of broad strokes. De Palma has never been a stranger to melodrama - in fact, he fairly relishes it. Here he draws a memorable performance from Sean Penn, while his framing and movement are as dynamic and assured as ever. The pace is pulsating; Pacino's anti-hero is effortlessly sharp and angry; Patrick Doyle's music is aptly melodramatic; and the final burst for freedom - an expertly-staged, fifteen minute foot chase sequence - is pure cinema.
on 21 March 2009
This film is what i consider to be a masterpiece at every level. Brian De Palma has never hit the mark so precisely. The characters are fully fleshed out, the score remarkable and the lead mesmerising. The story is a modern shakespearean tragedy, a tale of love, regret, betrayal and hope, where Carlito tries to leave his past behind and make a new life with a former lover. Of course things do not go smoothly and as Carlito remarks 'the street is watching'. This is my favourite film of all time and truely a classic in every sense of the word. Buy it now, you will not be disappointed.
on 5 July 2006
al pacino (probably the best actor of my lifetime along with deniro),spills over with class in this hard hitting masterpiece,the film starts with carlito being released from prison(basically locked up for running any illegal thing going.however he wants to start a fresh,wash the slate clean.but things and people have changed on the steet,and anything he does gets him deeper in criminal activity than ever,with none of it his own doing.his friends and people he trust drag him back to big criminal way of life,he finds himself back at the top of the police s*$t list.an amazing film that is compelling viewing....watch it today...lookout for sean penn as carlito`s solicitor...great stuff
on 10 August 2002
One of my all-time favorite movies, Al Pacino stars as Carlito Brigande, a Puerto Rican ex drug-lord trying to go straight after his release from prison 5 years into a 30 year stint. Sean Penn plays Carlito's lawyer, Kleinfeld; A brash, naive un-streetwise councellor, he is excellent in this role. Good support from Pennelope Ann Miller, as always, here playing the love interest. Great supporting roles and cameos from Luis Guzman as Pachanga, John Leguizamo as Benny Blanco from da Bronx! and hilarious stuff from Jorge Porcel as Saso (or RON! hehe) and Viggo Mortensen as Lalin. A Compelling story, brilliantly played, criminally underatted. Al Pacino at his best, a must-own movie.
on 13 December 2004
Good thing this isn't a bad movie, then. Far from it. Not only does it contain one of the most exciting shootouts in cinema history at the climax, it features one of Al Pacino's most inspiring performances.
The story of a Puerto Rican druglord (Pacino) trying to stay on the straight and narrow whilst his friends and his lawyer (Sean Penn) try to drag him bag into the old life. Carlito's values are honourable, but lead to his downfall.
People have drawn similarities with Scarface, but that is not so. Carlito has charisma, he has redeeming features, he has character. Tony Montana was out for all he could get - not caring who got in his way. Carlito is, perhaps, a more mature Montana.
The film is well-shot and the set-pieces are excellent. The soundtrack is also perfect.
Gripping viewing from start to finish, this film was my first experience of Al Pacino's skills, and he has since become my favourite actor.
on 6 January 2008
Director Brian DePalma returns with this 1993 adaptation of the novel 'After Hours' by judge and author Edwin Torres. Here DePalma alternates his filmic style more to the side of 'Mission Impossible' and 'The Untouchables' rather than his usual Hitchcock homages ala 'Body Double' and 'Blow Out' to deliver (for me anyway) his finest film.
The story has Al Pacino (never better) playing Puerto Rican ex-con Carlito Brigante trying desperately to go straight and make a new life for himself and his dancer girlfriend (played by the excellent Penelope Ann Miller). Obviously, it all takes a turn for the worse when Carlito's attorney friend (played by an unrecognisable Sean Penn) is destined to take not only himself, but Carlito down with him.
The film itself is beautifully acted, exceptionally well written (each character is well developed and fully rounded) and the direction by DePalma is his sharpest yet. His roaming camera and stylish lighting give the city scenes life and the bars and club that glitzy and low life appeal in equal measure. Al Pacino is perfect in the role and gives the film an exceptional emotional core - so to does Sean Penn, who is the epitome of sleaze and his look for the character is spot on. The romance between Pacino and Miller is well handled, not too slushy or slowing the story down - and like each plot point in the film, it is expertly handled and played out well.
All in all, one of DePalma's finest films and (for me) more satisfying than their previous collaboration 'Scarface' - although, that is excellent as well. Universals' disc has a sharp transfer and a short making of documentary, but the film itself is well worth the price of the disc alone. Recemmended.
on 10 December 2007
This film is often seen as the follow up to Brian De Palma's `Scarface (Widescreen Anniversary Edition), and while the films share a logical line of progression and the same director and star, they're not related really. The recent viewing of this movie for the first time since it was released in the mid 90s confirmed my long held beliefs: this is some of Mr. Pacino's best work on film along with great performances from Penelope Ann Miller (his love interest) and Sean Penn (Carlito's lawyer).
Brian De Palma makes one of his best (and under-rated) films by letting the viewer be as self-aware of the on-coming clichés and pit-falls of the drama the story intones, just by the narration. The aged, contemplative voice of Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino) that chimes in more often than not, is as essential to the way the story unfolds as Henry Hill's was to `GoodFellas'- this guys been on the inside, he knows the ropes, he knows the stakes, he knows the nature of the beast that goes with the people he associates with, and now that he's out of prison, he doesn't want it anymore. Un-like a lesser film, we start to believe his intentions and reasoning's.
Carlito's just been released, thanks in part to his counselor David Kleinfeld (Sean Penn), five years gone in a thirty year sentence, and when he returns to the street many look at him as if he's changed hearing that he's retired. Carlito just wants to get some money together, open a car dealership of sorts with a friend in the Bahamas, and works in a nightclub right smack dab in the heart of the coked up late 70's. As Carlito's tale unfolds, so does Kleinfeld's, as an inmate who's a client of his makes a demand that he can't turn down, which in turn brings a perpetually reluctant Carlito along with him. Carlito proves to be a complex character with a solid understanding of what's right and wrong, as well as very strong ambitions. These two traits are quite often opposed with one another, and it is in this conflict that De Palma brings out the best of Pacino. Somewhere along the way Carlito has won you to his cause, and despite the character flaws and set backs, you want to see him achieve his dream. But as the story unfolds, the stakes and risks are greater and his success seems less likely.
What I especially enjoyed in this movie was the narration Pacino had of Carlito in many crucial or pivotal parts of the script. Unlike many of his more well known and recognized roles, where Pacino had long brooding scenes, it was left to our imagination to often times wonder what the character was thinking. In Carlito's Way we are offered a glimpse into that thought process, and it is quite rewarding in fact. magnificent set-pieces that confirm De Palma's worth as a director of thrillers as well as dramas, this is an example of Hollywood movie-making that is waiting to be discovered over and over again, as proof of the value that can come in re-fashioning a genre piece.
on 17 April 2003
After making many distinguished films in his long and successful career, Al Pacino should forever be remembered as The Godfather’s Michael Corleone and Scarface’s Tony Montana. Right? Wrong!
In one of his greatest ever performances on screen, Pacino is menacing yet remorseful as the convict-turned-straight Carlito Brigante. Carlito is hauled out of a 35-year jail sentence by his seedy yet brilliant lawyer David Kleinfeld (Sean Penn) after serving just 5 years. Freed on a re-trail showing false evidence used against him, Carlito sets out to right the wrongs of his previous life in the drug business, but his attempts to lead a straight life seem to be thwarted at every turn. Taking a job managing a nightclub, Carlito finds himself surrounded by the thugs he vowed to leave behind and immersed in a world of old enemies and younger, greedier men who seek to emulate his former ‘successes’ in the underworld. All this, combined with his lawyer/friend Kleinfeld’s attempts to stop him leaving for Paradise with his long suffering girlfriend Gail (Penelope Anne Miller) keep Brigante in the world he so desperately wants to leave behind.
Directed by Brian De Palma, this film reunites some of the cast and crew from the production of Scarface (1983) in what is, in my opinion, much more of a story than Scarface and seems to give more depth to all its characters while crediting the audience with a little more intelligence. Pacino gives a fine performance in both films, but for me, even with the brilliance of Scarface, Carlito’s Way just pips it to the post by involving more characters in its gripping and immersive plot. A must see for all Pacino fans.
Al Pacino plays Puerto Rican drug dealer and killer, Carlito Brigante, who is released on a technicality 5 years into a 30 year prison sentence. Recognising his opportunity to be a better person Carlito decides to go straight but his gratitude to corrupt lawyer Kleinfeld (Sean Penn) for getting him out of prison means he will eventually step back over the line to repay the favour.
Carlito's Way is a magnificent, well written crime drama and the performances of Pacino and Penn are wonderful. Brian De Palma's direction is spot on but as hard as it tries, Carlito's Way doesn't quite match up to his previous collaboration with Pacino, the classic Scarface. Pacino plays both roles differently, Tony Montana was a ruthless killer who murdered his best friend in a heartbeat but Carlito cares much more about his loved ones, so much so that he helps Kleinfeld on a job that will potentially send him back to prison for the rest of his life. Carlito is genuinely grateful for another shot at life and his weary narration as he is dragged back into his old ways give the film a heart that Scarface didn't have. When watching Carlito's Way you just know theres not gonna be a happy ending but the third act is so well done it's impossible not to watch it out despite the feeling of impending tragedy.
Like this? Try: Scarface