CARLITO’S WAY [1993] review

September 3, 2011 · Print This Article

I am not a fan of gangster movies, but felt like watching an Al Pacino movie for some reason and the title CARLITO’S WAY had long stuck in my head.  His work in SERPICO [1973] really impressed me, as his current work is mostly just playing a caricature  of himself.  Al Pacino in CARLITO’S WAY in 1993 has him just past the border of being a great actor and slightly on the side already of being a caricature of his unique over acting style.

I am also not a fan of movies that show the fate of the main character at the very beginning of the movie and then have the rest of the movie show what lead up to that.  Why any director would choose to kill all suspense from the ending of his/her own movie is beyond me.  Pacino makes a great run for his life, getting so close to his dream at the end, but all the suspension is just manipulation as director Brian De Palma already showed us his fate in the opening scene.

All that aside, the story itself is not original in anyway:  gangster gets busted, spends time in the joint, comes out wanting to stay clean, cannot help but get pulled back into the street life, tries to still make good, almost does, almost.

Penelope Ann Miller for some reason dated Pacino before he went to the joint and starts to again after.  If you have to ask your boyfriend if he has ever killed anyone before as many times as she did in the movie, you should probably either already be cool with that, or not date him!

Despite all the above gripes, I did enjoy CARLITO’S WAY for the most part.  When Pacino kept things in check, he can operate on the screen with an authority.  He plays streetwise very well.  Cutting around 20 minutes from the film would also help a lot.


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