Carlito’s Way

Viewed – 15 June 2013  Blu-ray

This is one of those gangster thrillers that for some reason, I’ve never managed to see since the first time it hit VHS a number of years ago.  From that viewing, all I recall was that whilst good, it lacked a bit of action, and for me I found it a tad boring.  Now I suppose with more mature eyes, I was happy to sit down to this and take in the story and the acting with much more appreciation than I previously expected.


Al Pacino plays Carlito, a recently paroled hood who is attempting to go straight.  Helped by his friend and lawyer, Sean Penn who pulled more than a few strings to get him an early release, he is soon helping run a nightclub and getting reluctantly re-acquainted with the local mobsters.  At the same time he tracks down his lost love, who he previously dumped when he got nabbed and thought he was looking at 30 years.  Directed by Brian De Palma (Scarface, The Untouchables) and with a confident, complex turn from Pacino who makes a violent crook and former drug dealer sympathetic, this was quality viewing from the off.  De Palma has always been a very stylish and imaginative film maker, and here his talent is on fine form, with clever camera work (if not quite as showy as he’s known for), good choices of music and a gradually building momentum, leading to a very thrilling conclusion.

Penn although good, is a touch too weaselly for my liking, although Penelope Ann Miller is perfect as Carlito’s potential salvation.  I’m not a fan of John Leiguizamo either, but at least his part is only small here.  It’s also not as violent or as hard-hitting as other movies of the genre, but this isn’t about gangster’s doing gangster-shit, it’s about performance and story – and overall I enjoyed it a lot.

The Blu-ray, whilst a little light on extra features (we get a making of and a photo gallery … but no commentary?) the picture thankfully, is nicely detailed for the most part, despite a little fuzziness in some scenes.  The soundtrack, in 5.1 is more than acceptable too, and this remains a great movie to listen to.  Not the best Blu-ray out there, but as HD treatments, this was still pretty decent.


(the movie) 4 / 5

(the Blu-ray) 3.5 /5

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