HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Mercy, The
Kickboxer: Retaliation
Molly Maguires, The
Party, The
Dante's Peak
Housemaid, The
Vendetta
Brimstone
Boys in the Trees
Once Were Warriors
Red Planet Mars
Blade Runner 2049
Devil's Express
Belko Experiment, The
Flashback
War of the Arrows
One-Trick Pony
Cloverfield Paradox, The
Beach Rats
In Between
Flesh Feast
Gerald's Game
Crocodile Dundee II
Baaghi
Bat People, The
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Tower
Message from the King
Street Smart
Mountain
   
 
Newest Articles
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
   
 
  Carlito's Way Things Ain't What They Used To BeBuy this film here.
Year: 1993
Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller, Luis Guzmán, John Leguizamo, Ingrid Rogers, James Rebhorn, Joseph Siravo, Viggo Mortensen, Adrian Pasdar, Paul Mazursky
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rating:  7 (from 5 votes)
Review: Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino) is released from a thirty-year prison sentence after five years when his lawyer David Kleinfeld (Sean Penn) takes advantage of a legal loophole. Carlito is glad to be out and is set up by his connections as the owner of a nightclub; but life has changed since he's been inside, and although he reunites with Gail (Penelope Ann Miller), an old flame, things start to go badly wrong...

This conventional, occasionally inspired, gangster movie was scripted by David Koepp from two novels by real-life judge Edwin Torres. We see Carlito getting shot while boarding a train at the beginning of the story, so the rest of the action is devoted to detailing his downfall in flashback. Since we know how he ends up, Carlito's Way is more about the journey than the destination.

The trouble is, it is made clear early on that Carlito is a man whose code of honour is out of step with the times, in this case the mid-seventies. He apparently comes from an era where gangsters had nothing but respect for each other and the young punks rising up to take his place are nothing but thugs, living by a code of violence and arrogance, fueled by drugs and alcohol. Pacino supplies us with an introspective voiceover in case we haven't picked up on this theme, which is pretty much reiterated throughout the film, making for a one-note experience.

While Brian De Palma has been accused of misogyny in the past, here he goes too far the other way with the character of Gail. She represents all that Carlito wants to aspire to: settling down with a good, honest woman, having a family and giving up on the criminal life. This means that Gail is put up on a pedestal from which she never descends; although the romance is sweet and shows us an admirable side of Carlito, it's too saccharine for a thriller like this.

Pacino stylishly imbues his hero with a mixture of grace and steel, but it's Sean Penn who impresses the most. Kleinfeld is a crooked lawyer, sick of being pushed around by the crooks who are his bread and butter, but growing too coke-addled to make sensible decisions. So he becomes foolhardy, which leads to an act of spectacular stupidity during a jailbreak he has reluctantly taken part in. Penn's slimy perfomance manages to paper over the cracks of his role's less believable excesses.

As the whole thing is fairly predictable, you can just sit back and enjoy De Palma's talent with the camera and his way with a setpiece. The climactic chase is superbly handled, with Carlito pursued by hoodlums through the subway as he tries to reach the station. Incidentally, this film must hold the record for the frequency that people say the main character's name - even though Gail calls him "Charlie" for a variation, "Carlito" must be spoken over fifty times. Music by Patrick Doyle.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 11514 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Brian De Palma  (1940 - )

Controversial American director and Alfred Hitchcock fan, strong on style, but weak on emotion. His early, political films like Greetings and Hi, Mom! gained some acclaim, but it was with Sisters that he emerged as a major talent of the 1970s and settled into his cycle of thrillers and horrors: The Phantom of the Paradise, Carrie, Obsession, The Fury, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Body Double, Carlito's Way, Raising Cain, Snake Eyes and Femme Fatale being good examples.

He's not aversed to directing blockbusters such as Scarface, The Untouchables and Mission Impossible, but Bonfire of the Vanities was a famous flop and The Black Dahlia fared little better as his profile dipped in its later years, with Passion barely seeing the inside of cinemas. Even in his poorest films, his way with the camera is undeniably impressive. Was once married to Nancy Allen.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
  Andrew Irvine
Ian Phillips
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: