Carlito's Way - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Carlito's Way Reviews

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September 21, 2016
One of Pacino's best.
August 25, 2016
one of the best crime movies ever.
August 17, 2016
If it hadn't been for the box set of gangster films that my father lent to me, I would never have heard of or watched Carlito's Way. It seems to be a relatively underrated film and I can see why. There aren't any killer lines or iconic scenes, but there's a decent story and impeccable acting. Obviously Pacino's presence owns the screen, but Sean Penn shows notable range as the weaselly lawyer Kleinfeld and as does Viggo Mortensen as the once suave gangster now paraplegic. Mortensen's ability to hold his own with Pacino in the club scene is awesome. To date, this one is my favourite gangster film and one I'd watch again.
½ August 16, 2016
This has to be the worst movie I've seen this year thus far. How it entailed 140mins I can't quite fathom. For it to then end as 'corny' as the storyline and some of the overplayed acting!! How in gods name do you end a movie in the manner in which this ended and rate it so highly!! I have lost faith in the critics of today! To rate this so highly!!! Really regretted watching this pile of garbage!
June 16, 2016
It may be very Oscar-baity, but let's face it, we're all fish in the same pond, and the bait is delicious. This may not be De Palma and Pacino's best meet up, but with stand out characters and unexpected turns, it's a welcome companion. B+.
June 3, 2016
I absolutely love this film and consider it a modern classic. It received mixed reviews back when it was first released, although I loved the film immediately upon seeing it in the theater. And long before this film came out, I was a huge fan of director Brian De Palma, but "Carlito's Way" has since rightfully gained a significant following. Much of the criticism of the film when it was initially released was that the film was too much of De Palma and star Al Pacino rehashing old material (i.e. this being a rehash of their earlier collaboration on "Scarface"), but this film is so much more and is a far more character driven of piece than "Scarface" ever was. Set in a disco era 1970s NYC, Pacino plays an Latino ganster recently released from prison on a technicality by his sleazy lawyer, a brilliant and nearly unrecognizable Sean Penn who hadn't acted in anything for quite a while up until this film. Carlito wants to go straight, but the street keeps sucking him back in. Outside of the superficial elements that De Palma is directing and Pacino is playing a Latino gangster, this film has nothing similar to "Scarface." Even if the film were to be considered a spiritual sequel to "Scarface" (or a retread if you're feeling more negative) I don't think that's a credible reason to dismiss this film. I always appreciated Martin Scorcesse's defense of "Casino" being too similar to "Goodfellas" when he pointed out that John Ford (my all-time favorite American film director) essentially made the same movie three times over again with his Cavalry Trilogy (with nearly the same cast and story each time). But more specifically to the attributes of "Calito's Way." Pacino actually tones his performance down quite a bit for Carlito. Most of his film since "Scent of a Woman" involve Pacino constantly being at the top of his lungs. Pacino certainly does have his big moments here too, but it's his quite ones that are most memorable. Most of those quiet moments involve scenes with love interest Gail, played by Penelope Ann Miller. I remember when I originally watched this film I wasn't sure if Miller was cast correctly, but I've come to decide she was perfectly cast. She and Pacino are not a typical match as an onscreen couple, but their characters are a mismatch as well, which is what makes it so effective. Miller spent most of her career at this time doing light comedy, but she gives a strong moving performance as Carilo's long suffering girlfriend. The film is also filled with memorable supporting performances, ranging from Luis Guzmán as Carlito's henchman Pachanga, to James Rebhorn as the DA out to get Carlio, to Adrian Pasdar, Richard Foronjy, and Frank Minucci as Italian mafia figures, to a very memorable John Leguizamo as Benny Blanco from the Bronx. One of my own personal favorite movie games going back to my video store clerk days was "Best One Scene Performances" and this film contains on of those on my list. It's the scene where Lalin (Viggo Mortensen before he was famous) meets with Carlito in the club and is wearing a wire for the DA. Mortensen is such a weasley and pathetic character, but Mortensen somehow manages to almost generate sympathy for his awful character. It's a performance on the level of Peter Lorre in "M," where his child murder character is so sincere that he almost generates sympathy before the group about to kill him for his crimes. Not quite as great, but nearly as good is the scene where Tony Taglialucci meets the Sean Penn's character on Ryder's Island and just commands the screen in bullying Penn. These are all amazing elements of the film that all add up to making it a classic, but I haven't even mentioned the beautiful and tragic score by Patrick Doyle, or the gorgeous production design by the always great Richard Sylbert, or the elegant photography by Stephen H. Burum. But a majority of this films success lies with director Brian De Palma. I put this film among De Palma's best films, right alongside "Blow Out" or "The Untouchables." De Palma is known for his action/suspense set pieces and he delivers a number of such scenes in this film, but the chase scene at the end of the film that culminates at Grand Centra Station is a classic. However, De Palma continues to demonstrative his mastery of the camera even in the more quite of moments, such as Carlito standing in the rain waiting for Gai, or elegantly moody black and white opening, are all undeniably De Palma in terms visual style. What makes Brian De Palma one of my favorite filmmakers is that he is a true cinema-guy. His films are done in such a way that they could not be told in any other medium. Not a book, not a TV show, not a comic book. The way he tells a story could only be told on film. Although based on a book, the book would not be the same full sensory experience that De Palma brought to the screen here with period music, arresting visuals and terrific suspense set pieces. Overall, this film is absolutely brilliant and deserves to be recognized as such. In doing some reading on this film, I was very pleased to read that the French publication Cahiers du cinéma named "Carlio's Way" as Best film of the 1990s.
Super Reviewer
May 27, 2016
I can't believe it took me until just recently to see this film.
Absolutely brilliant performances from all of the main character actors (Pacino, Penn, and Miller). Great adapted screenplay from David Koepp (which should be expected as he rarely misses). You root and root for Pacino's character to maintain the straight and narrow after being released from prison only to see him dragged further and further back to a life of crime. Definitely see this film.
May 22, 2016
Just watched it after so many years and in was still very enjoyable. Great story and wonderful performances from everyone in the film. 5/5
March 19, 2016
Pacino and Penn actually complemented each others performance, often distracted by Miller's character's side story.
March 16, 2016
One of my favorite movies of all time!
February 17, 2016
If you like Scarface, then you will really enjoy this film. It has PAcino as an experienced criminal that is begrudgingly dragged back into the criminal life he swore he has left behind - with dire consequences, Pacino is a reformed man and is focused on love and living a clean life. Unfortunately, fate is beyond any man's control.
January 20, 2016
Saw this on 20/1/16
Brian De Palma directs with pace and tension and actor Al Pacino gives a fabulous performance yet again, but sadly towards the end the film is too cheesy for a gangster film. However, I find it to be better than scarface, mostly because it has characters that you can actually root for. Sean Penn is also great as the lawyer here.
January 20, 2016
2/5. Honestly the worst Al Pacino had ever been up to this point, phoning in his performance for a director with no idea what to do with the source material other than milk as much tasteless sentimentality out of it that he could. Simplistic, predictable and unintentionally cheesy, with a real eye-roller of an ending. Yuck.
January 9, 2016
This may be the most underrated movie of all time. It is very suspenseful & we get to see Al Pacino at his finest.
December 4, 2015
Carlito's Way is probably what Scarface 2 would have looked like if Tony Montana did not get blown away at the end of Scarface. Although there seems to be similarities between the movies on the surface, Carlito's Way offers a much better movie than Scarface. We got Al Pacino in the role of an out of prison gangster who is trying his hardest to stay straight and abide by the law. Usually characters that are in this situation are saying that, but in reality are really trying to still scheme and be a criminal, that is not the case here. Carlito is honestly trying to do the right thing for once in his life, but keeps getting brought down by the people that he associates himself with, mainly his greasy scumbag lawyer played brilliantly by Sean Penn. This is a really good movie and should be the movie that is heralded for Brian DePalma, and not Scarface, which in the end was a silly movie. Carlito's Way is worth a watch for sure.
October 26, 2015
Al Pacino's trade mark yelling keeps this film alive.
August 15, 2015
Another fantastic DePalma film. Probably one of his best, most realized films. Carlito is a great character, and his desperate attempt to get out of the game is pretty tragic.
½ August 11, 2015
An Al Pacino classic!
July 27, 2015
i love mobster movies and al pachino is brilliant in such films. this is definitely one of them, although nothing compares to "the godfather".
½ July 5, 2015
150705: Don't get me wrong, this is a good story, but I find Pacino annoyingly overdramatic in this particular work.
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