Scarface (DVD, 2009, Includes PUBLIC ENEMIES Sneap Peek for Mobile)

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Scarface (1983)

Apr 4, 2000
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Al Pacino and supporting cast

Cons:Graphic violence and strong language limits family appeal

Director Brian DePalma’s remake of the 1932 gangster picture "Scarface" is a must-see for all gangster movie fans. DePalma changed Scarface’s character from a Sicilian immigrant in the 1932 picture to a Cuban refugee, but otherwise the plot is basically the same as the original, including the implied incestuous relationship with his younger sister.

Al Pacino stars as "Tony "Scarface" Montana", a Cuban who comes to Miami in the boat lift of the early ‘80s. The film notes that Castro made a lot of criminals leave Cuba at the time, along with the legitimate people who wanted to leave. Montana befriends an important Miami drug kingpin (Robert Loggia) by performing a "hit" while in the internment camp. Then, when Montana is released, he begins working at a little hot dog stand with his friend "Manolo", well played by Steven Bauer.

Scarface is approached by a sleazy torpedo (played by F. Murray Abraham) who works for Loggia. Through this contact, Scarface worms his way into the confidence of Loggia and makes it to the highest levels of the drug organization, successfully negotiating a big Colombian drug connection and eclipsing Abraham. Once there, Montana begins to become ambitious, and to covet the things he sees Loggia enjoying, including his luscious wife (Michelle Pfeiffer). Double cross and murder are on the agenda and Montana ends up at the pinnacle of a disgusting heap of crime.

He begins to imagine himself invulnerable and above all others. This arrogance is symbolized by the garish neon sign he installs in his foyer "The World is Yours", an old reference to the Cook’s Tours sign outside the penthouse window in the 1932 version. Meanwhile, the drug connection needs a favor. He needs somebody to help his hit man kill a person who is exposing his Colombian drug cartel to the United Nations on worldwide TV news. When Scarface sees that the hit man is going to blow up the mark along with his family, he shoots him because that is not "macho". The outraged drug lord sends dozens of hit men in response to this insult and the climax of the film is one of the best shoot-outs ever depicted on film.

The film is not subtle; it is hard-hitting entertainment for adults with violence that will make you turn away. There is also an interesting subplot showing Scarface trying to protect his sister with more than brotherly concern, just as in the 1932 film.

Al Pacino’s performance is absolutely magnificent in "Scarface". The supporting cast, particularly Steven Bauer, Robert Loggia, F. Murray Abraham, and Harris Yulin, as a crooked police officer help the movie stay moving.

The only cons are graphic violence, strong language, and almost three-hour length of the movie. This belongs on the top of your stack of gangster videos!

Viewers who enjoy "Scarface" will also enjoy "Carlito's Way", "Goodfellas", "Casino", and vintage gangster movies "Public Enemy", "Little Caesar", and the 1932 version of "Scarface". Enjoy!



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