Carlito's Way Reviews
Carlito "Charlie" Brigante has just been released from prison after serving 5 years of a 30 year sentence thanks to the work of his scheming and smarmy lawyer Dave Kleinfeld. Now that he's out, Carlito decides to go the straight and narrow, and cut ties with his old life. He's got big dreams ahead of him, and, noble as they may be, he finds it hard to completely let go of the past.
As I said above, it's a very human film, and it goes for the heart as much as it does for the throat. Yeah, the film has shades of familiarity (what film doesn't?) but it's very well played. De Palma tones down some of the manic camera work, and there's no split screen, but we do get some good long takes and tracking shots, and that typical feeling of being inside the event of the film that he's known for doing. It's a gorgeous picture, and you truly get immersed in Carlito's world.
It's set in the 70s (I believe, as the film doesn't make it too obvious, but it feels like that's what they're trying for), and the details, though subtle, are nice. This could have been more overt, but they went for restraint, and that makes the picture a lot stronger I think.
It's also got some terrific performances. Pacino once again stuns as Carlito, and I dig the beard he brings with his accent. Sean Penn is tremendous as Kleinfeld, and he's the kind of coked-out worm you love to hate. Luis Guzman and John Leguizamo provide some decent supporting performances, and Penelope Ann Miller is fine as Carlito's old/rekindled flame Gale, but the real treat acting wise is the brief cameo from a young and barely recognizable Viggo Mortensen as an old wheelchair-bound associate of Carlito's. It's a truly remarkable appearance.
All in all, this is a wonderful film. It's long, but it doesn't feel like a chore. You get to know the characters and world, and you really try to root for them and hope that a more mature perspective on the world will yield better results. Definitely give this one a shot. Truly one of De Palma's finest.
Excellent Gangster Film! Carlito's Way (1993), is a brilliant cinematic work. Pacino's performance as Carlito Berganzi displays the duplicity and subsequent torment between his reformed spirit, and the endless seduction of the street, embodied more specifically as his reputation,legacy,those who know him, of him, and those whom he allows in his innermost circle. Sean Penn is phenomenal as the lawyer representing Carlito, his metamorphosis into character is testament to his depth of talent. Penelope Ann Miller, as the long-suffering love of Carlito's life is dramatically and visually enchanting. The casting is perfect. The supporting cast superb, perfectly augmenting the film. The script is alive with literary devices, the story line(s), characters, dialogue, themes, sub-texts,etc., make this an almost endlessly watchable film. This is by far one of Pacino's best movies in his career and he should've definitely at least been nominated for an Oscar. Definitely worth to be in your collection if you're a fan of crime dramas or gangster flicks.
A Puerto Rican ex-con pledges to stay away from his former drug dealing ways but finds himself being dragged back by his past connections and the naive machinations of his lawyer and best friend. Hoping to raise enough money to get away from New York, Carlito Brigante takes on the job of running a nightclub, renews an affair with a dancer but old associates and old instincts suck him back into a world of violence and mistrust.
"He wanted out. He'd do anything to get there."
On one hand I love Carlito's Way for the performances from Pacino and Penn, for De Palma's signature touch of violence, and for how the story progresses on the back of its characters. Still, I can't help feeling like this isn't as good as it should be. It's good, but far from being an amazing film. With the talent in front of and behind the camera, I just always expect more. But still as it is, it is still a pretty fantastic piece of the Crime Drama genre. It doesn't reach the point of De Palma and Pacino's Scarface, but it is better than 90% of the other movies that try to do a story like this.
Carlito has just been released from prison where he was serving a thirty year sentence. Instead, he is released after just five because his lawyer, Kleinfeld was able to get him off on a technicality. Carlito expresses right from the out set that he wants to be done with the gangster scene. All he wants to do is make some money so that he can move down to the Bahama's with his girlfriend Gail. Things don't go that perfectly though as his friends are constantly bringing him back into the gangster scene. The film is very character driven, but as the plot progresses, it leads to an extremely suspenseful final twenty minutes. De Palma just knows how to shoot amazing scenes on stairs in train stations. The one here resembles the one in The Untouchables to a high degree.†
The movie is weakest when the narration is going on. The dialogue for it doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of the movie. It just feels very awkward and even silly. Whenever I hear the voice over come on, I just wish that it wasn't in the film, or at least cut down a little.
Carlito's Way does have some amazing scenes as you would expect from De Palma. I already mentioned the scene in the train station. But the best scene in the movie is the first time we see Carlito pulled down into crime. He goes on a drug pickup with his cousin. The pickup doesn't go very well and a lot of shooting ensues. It all is capped off by one of the coolest little speeches ever.
While this isn't a masterpiece, it is still a worthwhile film for sure. De Palma has made better movies than this, but it still shows a lot of what makes him great. It is hard to watch this and not compare it to Scarface, but you should probably try your hardest not to.
Carlito: I'm reloaded! Okay? Come on in here, you motherfuckers! Come on, I'm waitin' for ya! What, you ain't comin' in? Okay, I'm comin' out! Oh, you up against me now, motherfuckers! I'm gonna blow your fuckin' brains out! You think you're big time? You gonna fuckin' die big time! You ready? HERE COMES THE PAIN!†
The storyline is solid and well paced, the characters are well developed and with Al Pacino on board its hard to go wrong. Sean Penn as the bent lawyer Kleinfeld is excellent and its really his actions that make you sit up and get involved with this film.
Similar to the Godfather Part III, Carlito thinks he's finally free and can go follow his dream of renting cars to tourists in some far away paradise. However, just like Michael Corleone, just when he thinks hes out, they pull him right back!
The lengthy cat and mouse end sequence is attention grabbing and keeps you guessing until the very end. Yes this is Al Pacino. Yes this is another gangster film. And Yes, we are all still watching and for good reason!
"Favor gonna kill you faster than a bullet. "
I really wanted Carlito to get out and have an honest life, the ending could have been different. But it was really good and thrilling.. well done mob/thug/crime drama, with a great cast.
It was nice and well done, but I don't need to watch it again.
Pacino plays Puerto-Rican drug dealer Carlito Brigante who has just been released from prison due to some diligent defending from his trusted lawyer and friend Davie Kleinfeld (Sean Penn). Upon his release, he is immediately back in contact with his old cohorts from the streets and recieves several offers to get him back in business, but Carlito is determined to go straight and make a better life for himself and girlfriend Gail (Penelope Ann Miller). The problem is, he needs money to escape the life of crime so agrees to run a nightclub for as long as it takes to earn his money and move on. However, as much as he's finished with his previous life, his previous life is not finished with him as old and new faces appear, testing his resolve.
DePalma's "Scarface" has a proud and faithful following but with "Carlito's Way" he has outdone himself. There are some similarities with both films and Brigante could also be seen as an aging Montana but the reason it works better this time around is the investment we have with Carlito. He is a more human and sympathetic character and we want to see him succeed. Pacino also underplays it this time with a lot more subtlety and a lot less grandstanding, immediately winning us over. There is also some brilliant support from Sean Penn who oozes sleaze and distrust and is more of a danger to Carlito due to his spiralling cocaine habit and the bad company he keeps. John Leguizamo is also a standout as Benny Blanco "from the Bronx", a young but dangerous hood out to make a name for himself and a short but powerful appearance from Viggo Mortensen as a strung out disabled addict, who also has his own interests at heart. These and other fine actors are all handled effortlessly by DePalma who's also not adverse to showing us some flamboyant and skillful camerawork during exciting action scenes without detracting from the tension.
Although it may not be as "epic" as some other crime films, it without doubt deserves to be considered as equal to the best in the genre and definitely DePalma's best film.
This film is easy to enjoy with a great story and a great cast. And if you look carefully enough you can see a young Viggo Mortensen as a crippled low life. Made me chuckle.
Al Pacino is Carlito Brigante, a high-level Puerto Rican drug dealer sprung from a three-decade jail sentence after only five years, thanks to a technicality and his sleazy, cocaine-addled lawyer, Dave Kleinfeld (Sean Penn). Carlito renounces his previous ways and takes a job as the manager of a club that Kleinfeld has invested in, planning to save enough money so that he can eventually move to the Caribbean. But no sooner is Carlito back on the streets of New York than his old life claws at him in the form of both old partners (Luis Guzman) and vicious up-and-comers (John Leguizamo). Nevertheless, Carlito stays clean and even restarts his relationship with a dancer named Gail (Penelope Ann Miller), until he is finally led astray by Kleinfeld, who manipulates Carlito into participating in the murder of a Mafia don from whom Kleinfeld has stolen a million dollars. At that point, the race is on to see whether Carlito and Gail can escape his world for good.
Once again, one of the greatest actors of our time teams up with one of the greatest directors. Ther combination must surely be as good as, if not better than, Scorsese and De Niro. First the excellent Scarface, and then Carlito's Way, a film that blew me away when I first saw it. Pacino's portrayal of ex-gangland boss and drug dealer Carlito Brigante is powerful, moving and at times very funny. Combined with great performances from Sean Penn and Penelope Ann Miller, this film is a roller-coaster ride of "will he, won't he" tension and heavy , though not gratuitous, violence. So swept away do we get in Carlito's struggle that we actually forget that he's dying at the beginning of the film, and are praying that he'll make it by the end. This is a masterstroke from De Palma and a salute to the powerful and mesmeric acting of one Alfredo Pacino. A modern classic - this film has everything you could want. Love, loyalty, betrayal, sadness, comedy, and most importantly of all - balls.
Rarely have De Palma's bravura set pieces been as unobtrusively subservient to the storytelling as they are here, and the 'trick-shot' suspense scene and Grand Central Station finale rank among his finest work, even though the latter chase sequence does begin very lamely: "There he is! Come on!!!" Sean Penn - resembling a '70s-era Randy Newman with a receding hairline - is good fun in a showy but shallow role, but some of the supporting performances are far superior, particularly Viggo Mortensen as the treacherous Lalin, who deserves better than the slapdash, unresolved fate he receives. There is something preposterous about Carlito's relationship with the dancer, Gail, but the performances of Pacino and Penelope Ann Miller just about pull it off, producing De Palma's most tender and genuinely affecting scenes since "Carrie". I can actually find a lot of faults with "Carlito's Way" - for instance how a couple of long, prowling camera movements are scuppered by the bad acting of Jorge Porcel's Saso - but every time I watch it I'm willing the guy to catch that train, just one time. That's got to qualify as great filmmaking!