Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller and John Leguizamo star in "Carlito's Way," the 1993 masterpiece by Brian De Palma, which has now returned on an "Ultimate Edition" DVD.
"Carlito's Way," about a violent Puerto-Rican gangster (Pacino) released on a loophole with the help of his sleazy lawyer (Penn) who subsequently decides he wants to put his life of crime behind him and devote himself to the love of his life (Miller), is a fabulous action-drama where De Palma lets his visual style collide with the acting talent involved. Beautifully-directed and well acted, the movie has everything you'd want: gangster drama, shoot-outs, romance and a whole bunch of interesting characters. Though Carlito has vowed to go straight, his previous life is hard to escape, especially when his lawyer gets in deep trouble.
Pacino and Penn are mesmerizing, and Penn is especially intriguing as the hideously homely lawyer. Gifted with a head of curly pubic hairs, Penn is hardly recognizable.
DVD features include a bunch of deleted scenes, an interesting if not slightly self-obsessed perspective by De Palma, a making-of featurette, and more. Not exactly an "Ultimate Edition" as Universal proclaims, but still pretty good.
"Carlito's Way" is yet another masterful gangster film starring Pacino; isn't it curious that aside from "The Sopranos," there have been very few mobster classics in the last ten years, whereas the early nineties were just full of such classics? Either way, this is one of many De Palma classics.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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