Carlito’s Way

Carlito’s Way
Cast: Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann
Studio: Universal
Rating: 9/10

CORPORATE LINE: Notorious Puerto Rican heroin dealer Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino) is released from jail on a technicality thanks to the manipulations of his sleazy lawyer buddy (Sean Penn). All he wants is to keep his nose clean and earn enough money to start a business in the Bahamas–and maybe rekindle romance with his old flame, played by Penelope Ann Miller. Instead he finds himself back in trouble as a result of old-world codes of honor and misguided loyalties. It all takes place in 1975 Manhattan, in and around a nightclub Carlito manages, so there’s plenty of classic disco music pulsing on the soundtrack. John Leguizamo plays one of the younger generations of hoodlums out to prove something. Viggo Mortensen and Luis Guzmán star as a couple of Carlito’s buddies from the old days. Brian De Palma, who directed Pacino a decade earlier in SCARFACE, makes this seem almost like that film’s sequel. As expected, there’s plenty of elaborate tracking shots and suspenseful set pieces, most memorably a pulse-pounding chase through Grand Central Station. It’s adapted from two novels by New York Supreme Court Judge Edwin Torres based on his childhood in East Harlem.

THE MOVIE: On the heels of his Oscar for Scent of a Woman, Pacino lights this role on fire. This is Pacino at his best. As Carlito, Pacino plays another character who thinks he is immortal while showing that is a mere mortal.

But let’s not snub Sean Penn. Penn’s curly wigged, drug addicted will make you forget that he is fact an acting. It’s impossible to think of anyone other than Penn playing David Kleinfeld. Penn absolutely becomes David in every way.

“Brian De Palma on Carlito’s Way” is a nice piece that seems a bit cut or taken from what was a larger interview. Why it doesn’t feel whole I’m not sure.

“Deleted Scenes” include some scenes that don’t add much to the film nor your enjoyment.

“The Making of Carlito’s Way” goes deeper into the film than the interview with De Palma. The producers discuss the many issues they faced in the film. Even if this was the only featurette it would be worth buying the Ultimate Edition alone.

Also included are a Photo & Poster Gallery, Original Promotional Featurette, and Original Theatrical Trailer

FRANKLY: Carlito’s Way was a film made in a time when so much of the usual Hollywood film’s missed because they lacked soul. This is De Palma’s masterpiece.

+ Charlie Craine

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