MOVIE REVIEW: “Scarface” stars Al Pacino (Serpico, The Godfather), Steven Bauer (Traffic, Primal Fear), Michelle Pfeiffer (One Fine Day, What Lies Beneath), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (The Abyss, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), Robert Loggia (Big, Independence Day), Miriam Colon (Goal! The Dream Begins, Sabrina), F. Murray Abraham (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Amadeus), Paul Shenar (The Secret of NIMH, Raw Deal), Harris Yulin (Ghostbusters II, Clear and Present Danger), and Ángel Salazar (Carlito’s Way, Hot to Trot). It was directed by Brian De Palma (Mission: Impossible , Dressed to Kill) and written by Oliver Stone (Platoon, JFK). In Miami 1980, a Cuban political refugee named Tony Montana (Pacino) sees his rise to fame in the cartel business as he is determined to be top dog. However, with great success comes great sacrifice.
Al Pacino is one of those few greats that I have failed to watch in their classic films. The only thing I’ve seen Pacino in is “Jack and Jill,” and we all know how amazing that is, right? (Right?). Alongside “The Godfather” and “Scent of a Woman,” “Scarface” is regarded as one of Pacino’s bests, captivating audiences with its relentlessness and edginess through the eyes of Tony Montana, former Cuban political refugee turned ruthless mob boss. It’s a three-hour journey of how one hard-working, conniving man turns into a psychotic dealer high on his own product. We all know where this road leads; this behavior deserves terrible consequences, and this feature is here to show that in its full glory (not that it’s anything to glorify, that is). There’s plenty to appreciate in “Scarface,” primarily it’s amazing direction given by Brian De Palma, one of the famed rat pack of his time that included Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, and Martin Scorsese. My gosh, was his vision for this astounding. The shots, setting, wardrobe, all of it was on-point. His eye for the camera made this a captivating experience when the story was on the downswing at times. Specifically speaking, De Palma loved the use of long shots that glided around in big spaces. We’ll be inside of a room and the camera will take us out to show a car with people in it, all swiftly down without shakiness of camera (this scene in particular is the hotel room in the first act, where the chainsaw was used). I loved it, and it was clearly the best part of the experience. Besides that, the acting was great. Pacino was awesome, Steven Bauer was cool, and Pfeiffer was gorgeous. Everything did a solid job in making this story pop, especially in the many brutal action sequences that take place. Pacino was relentless, giving way to some kick-a scenes, like the one moment everyone knows (“say hello to my little friend!”). Though it’s a tale that has a predictable outcome and has been redone time and time again after its release, Pacino and De Palma craft something that is entertaining and at times riveting. However, with that said, I must stress that this isn’t as fantastic as I expected it to be. Granted, it has a wonderful cast and direction (some of the best I’ve seen in a while). I just think that the story could’ve dived deeper into Tony Montana’s persona, rather than display his spiral into a psychotic nature. I mean, by the end of it he’s snorting a mountain of coke. Rather than watch consequences of actions, I would’ve preferred to see more character development than what I received. For a film that almost eclipses three hours, not a whole lot is done to carve out Montana as a lead character. Sure, he’s the focus and we see his change of persona from small beginnings to luxurious madman, but it just wasn’t enough for me. By the end of it, I really didn’t care for Montana; his situation was sad, but I felt more pity for the people around him than Montana himself. Other than that, there were a few dry moments throughout the picture. The runtime made sense in order to show Montana build his empire and grow certain relationships with people, but there were some dialogue parts that could’ve been worked on. Regardless, “Scarface” is an entertaining watch that packs a punch. De Palma’s direction was astounding and Pacino made for an awesome, ruthless criminal. The severity this story presented was edgy and I liked the lengths the writers went in order to obtain that tone. I just wish Montana’s character was carved out more so that picture would be become well-rounded. FINAL SCORE: 88%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
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