The recent, unironic adoption of Brian De Palma’s furious, ludicrous crime epic by gangstas, playas and hippety-hoppety bling merchants of all stripes is perhaps testament to the film’s outrageous cojones, rather than any piercing insight into the criminal psyche.
But there’s no denying that Scarface is also a lot of fun, tracking homicidal Cuban homunculus Tony Montana (Al Pacino) from his first footsteps on US soil to his operatic demise in a cloud of AK-47 bullets and coke. In fact, cocaine-fuelled excess seems to power the whole movie, from Oliver Stone’s overloaded, trashily self-aware script to Al Pacino’s wildly unpredictable consonant-mangling mumble ("Manolo, choot dis piece a chit"), from De Palma’s magnificently indulgent Wellesian long shots to the retina-scorching, high-kitsch set and costume design.
What’s most impressive is Stone and De Palma’s unwillingness to cloak Tony’s grotesque, voracious machine-gun capitalism with any sort of Godfather-style guff about honour and family: Scarface is an unashamed study of selfish, sadistic criminality, and all the better for it.
Cast and crew
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
F Murray Abraham
Average User Rating
3 / 5
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Always have enjoyed this movie, especially the performance by Pacino. Can get a little boring at times, but there are several scenes scattered in between that make it worth while. Absolute classic 80s movie that is a much watch for everyone at some point in their lives
Never liked Scarface, but recently decided to rewatch it and give it a go. Not such a great idea. Performances are strong across the board—particularly if you can stomach Pacino at peak Pacino—but the film is slow-moving and pretty dull.