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Archive for March, 2009

Carlito’s way- Tough and touching!

carlitos_way
“I don’t invite this shit. It just comes to me.” These words, uttered by Carlito Brigante the protagonist of this Brian De Palma film happen to be the spine of this gangster story, voiced-over with deaths and disappointments. Al Pacino and Sean Penn don two vital roles in the movie which is screen-written by David Koepp from the Edwin Torres novels(Carlito’s Way and After hours). Although a first look at the film may give us an impression that Palma and Pacino are trying to rejuvenate the ‘Scarface’ but the script has something different to offer.

The Spanish tongued Carlito Brigante{Al Pacino} is released from prison aided by his lawyer friend Dave Kenfield{Sean Penn} after which we hear him say ‘Free atlast!’ He wants his hands to be clean and takes his way into a club owned by one of his old acquaintances, Sasso{(Jorge Porcel} and tries to save money for a better living which he assumes later to be with his girl friend Gail{Penelope Ann Miller}. He turns every possible stone to be within the walls of a good samaritan,but the diablo always comes his way. But without his cognizance his law pal Dave has other plans and other ends. Dave pulls the reluctant Carlito into something which the latter thinks to be an escape plot to free Tony{Frank Minucci} an Italian mob boss from prison. Carlito’s dreams start to blur when he realises that his friend is not a friend. Consequently Carlito gets cracking on to pull the strings…But unlike old times he has got más grande men behind his back giving him pain. The dreams get blurrier than ever and so the story goes…

Certain sequences of the movie demonstrate Brian De Palma’s ability to make his audience feel that he is watching something which is worth every penny he paid for:The pool scene, Dave’s stabbing and the last 20 minutes of the film are worth mentioning. Al Pacino’s cloak is somewhat similar to that of Scarface, but he manages to swipe off those images from our minds as soon as the movie progresses. Sean Penn macrocosmically creates the perfect artistic illusion of a mob lawyer of the late seventies and microcosmically corroborates how a friend could be. Being a period film, the stylistics of this movie reminds us of Scarface and Goodfellas. The painful philosophy that which exists in the voice of narration adds one more dimension to this multifaceted film. Inspite of her early strip teaser impressions in the film, Ann Miller sticks like chocolate to her inwardly moral role of Gail. A closer look would reveal the contrast that the film brings out between Gail and Dave, which adds strength to the lady’s character. For good, the length of the movie doesn’t affect the tempo and tension of the movie. The turning points occur at the right areas of the screenplay and elevates this great movie into a greater one.

The Director is successfull in guising his script’s flaws in intoxicating moments. One of them is this: Why does the dumb and incapable son end up being in the boat when he has a brother who is habile enough to match Carlito?{Which we realise minutes later} Secondly, is he so moronic to give up to a junkie? And finally there are no strong reasons for Tony to depend entirely upon Dave. Apart from this and a few other minor ones, Carlito’s way is limpio.

The mise en scene of the indoors aptly draws up the 70s curtain, while the exteriors showcase Palma’s celluloid skills. Stephen H. Burum‘s cinematography slides seamlessly into Patrick Doyle’s score to develop the tension of the milieu. The costumes, hairstyles and dialogues bring to lime light the amount of research done by the crew. Kristina Boden and Bill Pankow present us a well tailored movie without any glitches. Carlito says ‘Dios está siempre allí, mirándole a través de los ojos del diablo'{God is always there, watching you through the devil’s eyes!}

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