He's got a good future if he can live past next week.
A Puerto-Rican ex-con, just released from prison, pledges to stay away from drugs and violence despite the pressure around him and lead on to a better life outside of NYC.
Carlito Brigante, the first drug lord, goes to prison through a legal technique engendered by his lawyer, and vows to lead a dignified life. By accepting the job of manager of a nightclub, he finds his old girlfriend and the promise of a change for the better, they reattach the novel. But his dream is interrupted by his former associates of crime and even new villains who commit homicide only to be recognized and feared by all. However, his biggest enemy is himself. Despite his good intentions, the misguided loyalty Carlito and his old fashioned code of honor will involve him in a violent world of life and death against the relentless forces that keep him from leaving.
Film #31 of Project 90
”Favor gonna kill you faster than a bullet.”
An excellent crime/gangster/noir movie from Brian De Palma who teams up with Al Pacino to create a classic hero who will remind you of the lonely and desperate men of film noirs who are trying to find redemption and happiness in a treacherous world of lies and betrayals where you can buy salvation only with blood. Carlito’s Way is without a doubt one of De Palma’s best films, here he narrates an engaging story of love, regret and misfortune without getting carried away or sentimental which makes the overall story more engaging and it becomes easy for us to have sympathy for the central character.
I thought the shootout on the escalator was an amazing bit of action cinema, and the film managed to avoid veering into any offensive territory. It felt like a very strong film for De Palma. It worked to this strengths, which is pretty much epitomized by the disco soundtrack. It's flashy, energetic, and doomed.
One of my main issues with gangster films is the machismo most of them are pervaded with. Even when the film is decidedly illustrating the down sides to a life of crime, the lead character(s) tend to come across as glorified or mythological*, captured by Truffaut's war film paradox as much as any war film's hero would be. The most significant offender here is De Palma's…
Damn, I forgot how much I loved this film. The first time I saw this years ago, I fell in love with it instantly and saw it many countless times afterwards. I haven't seen it in so long, I forgot I loved it so much and I was reminded just how much this still manages to blow my mind.
First, I gotta talk about the acting, but this mght take a while...
Al Pacino is fucking incredible. Every emotion he expresses and every movement he makes nails it over the head. Even the narration is amazing. Like his narration, this performance helps you believe that Carlito Brigante is this tired, broken down gangster who wants to find peace in not…
Ten years after the perfect combination between Brian De Palma and Al Pacino in Scarface, the duo returned to another crime story, Carlito's Way. While Scarface was a tale about the ascencion of a crime lord, Carlito's Way tells an atempt of life change by one big gangster, Carlito Brigante.
It's needless to say that Al Pacino is one of the greatest actors ever lived, and his role in this movie is for sure one to be among the very best of his career. Actually, the whole cast is remarkable, a fantastic interpretation of a unrecognizable Sean Penn, a terrific and sexy Penelope Ann Miller and lots of great actors in small roles, like Viggo Mortensen in one of his…
FILM#72-DECEMBER CHALLENGE 2
Brian De Palma has made iconic movies for over thirty years now. He is predominantly known for his crime films and making the split screen popular again during his creative period in the late seventies and early eighties. A career littered with great movies, this is without doubt my favorite.
Al Pacino had been a little quiet until Mr De Palma came calling again. A decade after the two had lit up the screen with "Scarface", Pacino would be back as another crime figure with attitude. Set back in 1975, Pacino plays "Carlito Brigante" , a former smack dealer that has had his conviction overturned by the appeal court and been released from a 30 year sentence…
I haven't seen much of De Palma's work but the films I have seen strongly reflect the films and filmmakers that inspired them (with the Hitchock influence being very prominent). Carlito's Way, to me, feels like it's all De Palma. Self-conscious camera moves, dominant music cues, thrills, and melodrama. Especially the melodrama. Carlito's Way is nothing new but it's an interesting film. To me, it's a 1940's-style noir film made 50 years too late. Very nice.
Viggo Mortensen does a better latino gangster than Al Pacino.
I suspect that this second team up between Pacino and DePalma about a Latin criminal with an inconsistent accent navigating a criminal underworld while dating a white blonde (not to mention the second DePalma film to be a period piece that ends with a shootout in a large historic train station) is a bit of intentional self-parody, especially considering Pacino's character's resigned tired narration over the events that he finds himself falling into even as he tries to go straight (oh Pacino, he tries to get out, but they just keep pulling him back in!). The result is entertaining, but uneven and disposable.
Problems riddle this movie that has a large amount of potential. First and foremost, the writing is just awful. It's full of overused cliches and sentimental dribble. Some particularly over-the-top lines:
"No room in this city for big hearts like hers... Sorry baby, I tried the best I could, honest"
"Never give up your friends, Dave, no matter what."
"There is a line you cross, you don't never come back from. Point of no return. "
"That's the last time I wipe up your blood!"
The actors for the most part do what they can, but this is where Pacino starts to wear thin for me. He barely could play Cuban, so why bring him back to do Puerto Rican?…
Carlito is released from prison and vows to go straight. For the first ten minutes he's filled with excitement, making embarrassing exclamations about how he's "FREEEEEEEEEEE!". Then, ten minutes after, he finds himself in the middle of a shootout where he likely kills two people. Yet, his character is still displayed as an innocent man, trying to avoid corruption. The character arc is supposed to be his gradual transition from purity to amorality. The abrupt fight scene towards the start (which feels very cheesy after twenty years) sort of skews the whole arc. One could suggest it was in self-defense, and in no way an unethical action. But we find Carlito in enjoyment of the situation. Just like Tony Montana…
Cinema at its very best. Absolute masterpiece. Thank god for Brian De Palma.
De Palma brings us a great neo noir film that really captures the emotions and inner turmoil more than most gangster stories! I think one of the things that makes this movie great is how it is a timeless story. I wonder what this film would have looked like if had been made in the 1940's and starred either Bogart or Cagney! I really got a kick out of Sean Penn's hairdo! Pacino really gives an awesome performance in this film!
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Another De Palma film that I didn't want to watch! This one seems to end up on a lot of top 10 lists of his movies, though, so I was slightly more interested. It's an epic crime movie, sort of like a more world-weary version of Scarface. It's much better than Scarface, but is still much too long. Al Pacino's accent is also absolutely horrible. He's supposed to be latino, but his accent goes all over the place. It frequently sounds like he's imitating ebonics in a rather hammy way, particularly the closing narration, and frequently doesn't even have a hint of a Spanish accent. BUT, other than the accent, Pacino is pretty good.
The movie starts with him dying…
Sean Penn stealing the whole show.
This list is the Letterboxd version of The Oxford History of World Cinema.
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