Saturday, 11 December 2010

Film Review: CARLITO’S WAY (1993)

Director: Brian De Palma
Running time: 138 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

UK release date: 7th January 1994

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 11th December 2010.


I remember seeing parts of this film back in the nineties, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen it all the way through. This is a very decent gangster movie; I was impressed with both the performances of the main cast and the production. But more of that later, here’s a short summary first (summary haters please wait in the car with Pachanga; we got some business to attend to…)

Carlito Brigante has just got out of jail on a technicality. He was supposed to go down for thirty years, but thanks to the hard work of his lawyer, David Kleinfeld, he gets out in five. He vows that he will not return to his life of crime and intends to go straight from now on. This, as we discover, proves a little harder than Carlito at first thinks. Things have changed a lot on the streets in the five years he’s been inside, but there are still some of his old associates about. Carlito has a plan, a plan that depends on him getting his hands on $75,000. The trouble is there are not very many legitimate ways to get your hands on that kind of cash. David Kleinfeld sets him up with a job, running a night club that he has a stake in and, at first, things seem to be running ok. He re-kindles the relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Gail, a dancer, and she is keen for him to go straight also. But then he is slowly dragged back into the world he is trying to escape by David and the colourful company he has dealings with. I will leave my summary there; don’t want to give too much away.

Although I found it a little long, I did enjoy this film. For the most part it is engaging and it is sometimes slightly unpredictable. Great cinematography and I thought the use of music was also very well done. Great performances from Al Pacino as Carlito ‘Charlie’ Brigante, Sean Penn as David Kleinfeld and Penelope Ann Miller as Gail. Honourable mentions must also go to, John Leguizamo as Benny Blanco, Ingrid Rogers as Steffie, Luis Guzmán as Pachanga and Viggo Mortensen as Lalin.

As I’ve already said, I felt this film was a little too long. I also felt that a little too much was made of the love story between Carlito and Gail. I think that Pacino maybe isn’t as convincing on screen as a romantic lead. But having said that, the love story does have its place at the send of the day. Quite an enjoyable film over all with some great performances… Recommended.

My score: 7.9/10

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