Review: Scarface – when pushing it to the limit goes wrong… for #FBF

What hasn’t been said about Scarface? Maybe that he’s a nice guy who drinks a nice cup of hot chocolate on Christmas. Yeah, that hasn’t been said about him. That being said, everyone should know the character and movie by now. The highly quotable movie about a Cuban immigrant who arrives in America who wants the American Dream so badly that when he finally achieves a level of success…he still wants more.

The film is a just a little relatable as far as wanting something and doing whatever it takes to achieve it. Tony Montana probably would’ve been a motivational speaker if it wasn’t for all the criminal activity. In one scene he tells his best friend Manny, “First you get money, then when you get the money you get the power, when you get the power, then you get the women.” Now who doesn’t all three of those things in their life? Words to live by but it’s how you achieve that that makes the difference.

That is what Scarface is all about really. When is it enough and when do you quit while your ahead? Seems like every time Montana gets to a good spot he pushes it to the limit and walks along the razor’s edge. The movie captures the dangers of excess and the life of being successful. You could easily take out the drug element and turn it into a movie about an executive on Wall Street or in the film industry and it would still have the same point. Lies, dead bodies, cheating, drinking, fucking – it’s all there.

Al Pacino, as you already know, portrays the title character and plays it over the top as Tony. Yeah, it’s comical at times hearing his “Cuban accent” but in a movie like this anything subtle, like he did in The Godfather, would be unacceptable. Steven Bauer as Manny is the best friend in arms that we all wish we had. Manny is there with Tony through thick and thin but has a soft spot for Tony’s sister. Michelle Pfeiffer is perfect as the unhappy trophy wife who is really only with Tony because she doesn’t want to lose the lavish life. Everyone else does their job really well especially Paul Shenar who plays Sosa, the cool and educated drug kingpin who Tony would’ve been if it wasn’t for his fiery Latino temper.

Penned by Oliver Stone, while fighting a cocaine addiction, has never been better with anything else he’s written. Directed by Brian DePalma, the movie has a nice touch of cinematic vision. In the beginning when Tony and Manny are in Freedom Town, it’s ugly and hand-held, but once they start achieving more success the movie gets nicer wide shots of Miami as well as the house Tony lives in. DePalma knows his shit and he showed it. Also, check out Carlito’s Way, another gangster movie from Pacino and DePalma, that hits another home run.

So if you haven’t seen Scarface, pop this one in and try to watch it without listening to everyone else about it, except this article, and try to have fun with it.

Catch Mando on Twitter at @manbat33 when he’s not co-hosting the @TalentedSlacker podcast!