American crime drama from 1983.
Starring: Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer
Director: Brian De Palma
Writer: Oliver Stone
Bechdel test: Fail
Tony Montana and Manny Ribera come to Miami from Cuba in the early 80’s and quickly starts to work for a drug lord. As they rise in the organization and becomes richer, they find that the drive that brought them to the top does them no favors once they are there.
I have not seen “Scarface” before, but have heard much, and mostly it has been praised. I have also of course heard the infamous line “Say hello to my little friend”. I was surprised when I now finally saw it and found a much lower quality movie then expected.
There was, for instance, tight zooming in on Tony’s eyes when the character had some revelations or contemplations. Quite worthy of a soap opera. The whole movie gave a feel of being cheap and using the effects of other genres, like soap operas. Still, the movie did have more substance then the average daily produced TV drama.
The worst element of “Scarface” is the music. It was loud and annoying 80’s overly swelling and dramatic synth pop that blasted through many otherwise quite watchable scenes. It really put a strain on the senses, and in several scenes I quite forgot about the action and just sat there being annoyed by the audio.
The other production values were also somewhat lacking. However, given the story, some of these shortcomings can possibly be a way of telling this story that fits and maybe even underscores the raw emotions and anger that allows Manny and Tony to climb the ladder as drug dealers. If the storytelling devices used in the movie equals the unrefined and raw nature of the main characters, maybe that is a deliberate choice, rather then a cheap solution. That is giving the movie makers the benefit of the doubt, though.
The acting was good and specially Al Pacino, as Tony Montana, was great. Tony had a raw emotional and unrefined anger that made him a convincing drug dealer.
The story was a tale of “The more you have, the more you want”. It is well constructed but somewhat strangely told. As I am currently trying to take a little closer look at how scenes come together to tell the story of the movie, I think some odd choices were made. We do not follow the two men closely on their way up the ladder, rather we are presented with fragments of their lives. As if the movies makers are saying, this is what it was like on this rung of the ladder, then over to the next rung. Not a bad way of dividing the story into scenes.
I didn’t really like the movie much. There were a few nice elements here and there, but I was mostly just bored. At least I can now say that I have seen it.
I would not recommend this movie. I don’t think it would entertain and the message it has, is well delivered many other places. (Although I can’t think of any right this moment. Isn’t that typical.)
Over to you
If you’ve recently seen “Scarface” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.
34 movies down. 331 to go.
If you want to get “Scarface” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?
Tomorrow’s movie is “Psycho“. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.
Until next time; live long and prosper.