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I watched Scarface last night and was somewhat surprised to find that it's a piece of shit.

The very fine and excellent Lucy Sussex informs me that the film is big in jail, but that really only goes as far as to assure me that Brian De Palma's natural audience is the incarcerated. Cell bars and chains are required, especially if the director wants to display his body of mediocre work. If they could leave, I am sure they would, no doubt writing reviews in crayon to assure anyone who read that it was predictable, boring, and that Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio's final scenes are downright laughable (not to mention she makes a poor Cuban).

About half way through I began to formulate a theory about the film and its direct link to the death of Al Pacino as an actor. Now, don't get me wrong, I have liked Pacino in some films, but with the exception of Heat, all predate Scarface. And even in Heat, lets face it, he basically screams and swaggers around on camera, mistaking the level of vocal command that he has in a particular scene for acting. He does it reasonably well, but once you've seen one Pacino film, you have seen them all, really. And really, as you watch Scarface, you can kind of see it happen: he begins by being interviewed, by presenting himself with a reasonable affectation of a Cuban, but as the film drags and drags itself out for nearly three hours, the paper thin characterisation, the stupidity of the plot, and the predictability of it, finds Pacino literally rolling his head in mounds of fake Coke and yelling more and more at the camera, until finally, he storms out to die in a blaze of violence.

At which point, we are all free to return to our cells and contemplate our crimes.

Thank you.


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Oct. 17th, 2012 03:31 am (UTC)
Scarface ruined De Palma's career when it came out, and was considered a camp joke for decades. Affection on the part of rappers improved its reputation.
Oct. 17th, 2012 03:43 am (UTC)
i had no idea. i'd not really paid it much attention over the years, though it had this cult classic rep, and huge chunks of it have seeped into popular culture. but, there you go. the terrible things rap has done.
Oct. 18th, 2012 03:20 am (UTC)
I liked Carlito's Way more than Scarface. It's almost like an apology for the earlier movie, with Pacino's character trying to extricate himself from THUG L1F3 and De Palma trying to be less over-the-top in his direction. Been a while since I watched either, though.
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