A Puerto Rican ex-con pledges to stay away from his former drug dealing ways but finds himself being dragged back by his past connections and the naive machinations of his lawyer and best friend. Hoping to raise enough money to get away from New York, Carlito Brigante takes on the job of running a nightclub, renews an affair with a dancer but old associates and old instincts suck him back into a world of violence and mistrust. Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
According to Brian De Palma, Sean Penn demanded 30 takes of the shot of Kleinfeld asking Carlito to help him with Tony T's escape. When De Palma wanted to move on to the next shot, Penn screamed at De Palma. He continued to yell at De Palma on the ride back to New York City. He later called De Palma on the phone to continue yelling at him. De Palma said that was the only argument they had on the film. See more »
Quisqueya (Rick Aviles) is clearly seen arguing with the bouncer in the establishing shot of the El Paraiso, even after his death in the film. See more »
[Speaking in Spanish]
Listen to me carefully, Carlito. Rudy says Pachanga is complaining about being broke; that he doesn't have a single dollar. He's also saying that you're a piece of shit, and that you don't have the balls to take care of the problem; and he's wasted a lot of time without making any money. Besides, I hear he's spying on us for Benny Blanco.
[Speaking in Spanish]
Let me deal with Pachanga. He's my brother.
He's your brother? That son of a bitch would kill his mother for money.
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"Scarface" was a great operatic film rooted in Greek tragedy, primarily the downfall of its protagonist related to his own hubris and pride. Its over-the-top theatrics and scenery-chewing acting complemented the absurdist tone of the film; some carping critics complained it was "too violent," but it was silly violence...and it worked.
"Carlito's Way" is considered by many to be a companion piece of sorts to "Scarface" - but in its own ways it is vastly different. As "GoodFellas" differed a great deal from "Casino" in its narrative methods, "Carlito's Way" isn't as broad and theatrical as "Scarface." Of course, it's still a DePalma film, and that means we get some beautiful set pieces - but for the most part DePalma avoids his excessive visuals and instead opts for a balanced mixture of both storyline and directorial flair. It is not a sequel to "Scarface" - it is an expansion, and it seems entirely apt that its narrative is more mature, considering that Carlito Brigante (the main character) is wiser than Tony Montana from "Scarface." Carlito is a Puerto Rican ex-con who gets out of a thirty-year jail sentence based on a technicality after serving a mere five years of sentence. Faced with a new life and fresh horizons, he decides to heed the lessons he learned in jail and embark on a new and honest lifestyle.
"Scarface" was Greek tragedy insofar as Tony Montana was doomed to a downfall based on his own egotism and stubbornness. Like Oedipus in Sophocles' classic story, Montana was too bull-headed to take the advice of his wife and friends and was entirely responsible for his own emotional (and, in "Scarface's" case, physical) demise.
"Carlito's Way" is the flip side of the coin. It's still Greek tragedy, but it offers a new perspective. This time, the protagonist tries to change his fate, but his life is doomed to its inevitable conclusion. Carlito tries to change his ways, but - to paraphrase a character from another film - there is only one guarantee...Carlito Brigante will never see heaven. That's the fundamental truth of this movie, and DePalma's less showy camera-work, and the more mature characterizations by the actors, and the believable script, ensure that "Carlito's Way" is an entirely human experience - far more so than "Scarface." (Which is still a great film based on its own goals.)
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