HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Shortcut
Stray
Butterfly Murders, The
Pimp
Feedback
Lady is a Square, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
   
 
  Scarface Say Hello To My Little Friend!
Year: 1983
Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Robert Loggia, Miriam Colon, F. Murray Abraham, Paul Shenar, Harris Yulin, Ángel Salazar, Arnaldo Santana, Arnaldo Santana
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 6 votes)
Review: Scarface was greeted with almost universally bad reviews on its release in 1983 – perhaps Al Pacino’s return to the gangster genre after The Godfather a decade earlier led critics to expect a serious sombre thriller, or maybe Brian De Palma’s wholesale trashing of Howard Hawks’ 1932 classic was an affront to their professional sensibilities. Twenty years on, it’s hard not to see the film as anything but a demented black comedy, as widely quoted as Spinal Tap and Withnail & I, with a spectacularly over-the-top performance from Pacino.

Tony Montana is a Cuban exile who arrives in Miami seeking fortune in the US. He and his friend Manny (Steven Bauer) have little interest in cleaning dishes in a fastfood van, so jump at the chance to perform a drug handover for Miami mobster Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia). Pretty soon they’re on Frank’s payroll, and Tony has seen the opportunity to make a lot more money than Frank is willing to risk, by trafficking drugs from Bolivia under the noses of the local druglords.

Scarface is long and sprawling, but Oliver Stone’s screenplay provides little opportunity for subtlety or deep insight. Tony Montana is brought vividly to life by Pacino whose Cuban accent is so thick it’s sometimes difficult to make out what’s he’s saying, but who gives the role a level of intensity second only to his performance in Dog Day Afternoon. Whether he’s trying to smarm his way past US immigration, sweet-talk Frank’s icy mistress Elvira (Michelle Pfeiffer) or blowing seven shades of shit out his enemies in a cocaine-fuelled rage, its hard to take your eyes off Pacino, and full marks to Bauer for sharing so many scenes and not being acted off the screen.

De Palma and Stone take a very linear approach the material, charting Tony’s accession through the Miami underworld, from his usurping of Frank as cocaine king to the inevitable downfall that his paranoid, coke-induced mania brings. Along the way we have a check list of bloody delights – the infamous chainsaw sequence, F. Murray Abraham’s enforcer getting hung from a helicopter, various stabbings, garottings and shootings, and the near-operatic climax in which Tony faces down an army of Bolivian gunmen in his own home. Classic lines come thick and fast – “This town’s like a great big pussy just waiting to get fucked!”, “Say hello my little friend!” – while the lavish production design, Georgio Moroder’s synth score and the 80s fashions provide a suitably gaudy period feel.

For all its shallow bombast, Scarface does occasionally touch on themes that could have done with some development. Tony’s relationship with his mother (Miriam Colon) and sister Gina (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, sporting monstrously big hair) is interesting; Mama Montana fears that her son will take pure, naive Gina over to the dark side of drugs and crime, while Gina is more than happy to help Tony share in his new found wealth. Ironically, Tony himself is fixated with the idea of Gina as an innocent, so much so that any man who even dares lay a finger upon her gets to feel his wrath. Which is bad news for poor old Manny, who is starting to fall in love with her. Mastrantonio plays the part of the confused younger sibling superbly, but De Palma is generally more interested in character surfaces than depth. Approached in the right frame of mind though, Scarface remains a guiltily enjoyable, one-of-a-kind spectacle.
Reviewer: Daniel Auty

 

This review has been viewed 34418 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 (1)


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
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: