Carlito’s Way (1993)

Carlito’s Way
Directed by Brian De Palma
Written by David Koepp based on the novels by Edwin Torres
(number 286)

I gotta say, I wasn’t pleased about another movie about crime and criminals. I do love Al Pacino but I really didn’t need to see another movie about random violence and stuff. I was assured by some of my Tuesday night roleplaying group that this movie was different so… here I go.

Why does it have to be two and a half hours?

At least it’s not about glorifying the life of a criminal – this is very much Carlito trying to get out of the life. To get out of the system which has screwed him over. Unfortunately he still has the same friends who are in the life, and he gets sucked back in. With the voice over you do start to feel sorry for him. There’s a horrible inevitability to the story.

Great soundtrack – like, every hit of the seventies plays in this movie, especially since Carlito runs a club. Lots of opportunity to show off the best songs and lots of incredible dance moves and fashion.

The action sequences and shoot outs are well filmed and I think it’s worth mentioning that they all have established stakes. I know exactly why the fight is about to happen, and I know who’s involved and why they are. There’s a lot of clever cat and mouse stuff, and the sequence on the boat was genuinely gripping. It’s very well made, which… not surprising given the director. I will admit he deserves to have so many movies on the 500 list.

Does it make me love the people? I yeah, I like Gail and I like Carlito. I really really hate Kleinfeld. So pleased when Carlito had emptied his gun. I guess that’s pretty dark… but anyway. Carlito and Gail I like them, and obviously John Leguizamo because he’s amazing all the time, and Luis Guzman. But generally the other characters are kind of interchangeable.

Bechdel test: No, we have Gail and we have Steph but they never speak to each other. Most of the women are prostitutes or dancers, just there to be objects for men to fight over.

Best line: Not a line but Carlito lying down on the escalator is freaking brilliant in the last sequence.

If you can’t see the angles no more, you’re in trouble.

State of Mind: Okay yeah, this was way better than the other crime films but it’s still kind of too long and I don’t know if I’d watch it again. The end sequence really really reminds me of Twelve Monkeys… Also the staring at the poster for a tropical paradise reminds me of something else? Oh yes, the Fifth Element. Both of those came out pretty shortly after this one so… clear influences.

Watched movie count


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