A magnificent 'tour-de-force' performance from Al Pacino is just one of the many reasons to recommend this film. The highly innovative camera angles and story-telling style of Brain De Palma is another. What at first glance seems to be a simple story, of a newly-released gangster wanting to lead a crime-free life, soon turns out to be anything but.
Carlito Brigante wants to just move out of the hood with his true love, but his lawyer (played with weasely perfection by Sean Penn) unwittingly makes things hard for him. And with others still out to get him for his past murderous indiscretions, it soons becomes a race against time to break free of the life of crime. His loyalty to friends soon becomes a burden as he realises how hard it is to go straight, and Al Pacino (who's played many a mobster before) knows just how to reach inside his character and make him sympathetic to us.
A truly brilliant film, with an edge-of-your-seat climactic half hour that won't soon be forgotten. (5 out of 5, by Carlisle Johnson)
Sprung from prison on a legal technicality by his cocaine-addled attorney (Sean Penn), former drug kingpin Carlito Brigante (Pacino) stuns the local underworld when he vows to go straight. Taking a job managing a glitzy, low-life nightclub, he tracks down his onetime girlfriend (Penelope Ann Miller) and rekindles their romance, promising he's changed for good.
But Carlito's dream of going legitimate is undermined at every turn by murderous former cronies and even deadlier young thugs out to make a name for themselves. Ultimately, however, his most dangerous enemy is himself. Despite good intentions, Carlito's misguided loyalties and an outmoded code of 'honour' will plunge him into a savage life-or-death battle against the relentless forces that refuse to let him go.
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Review This Product
Tue, 1 Apr 2008 | Review by: Micky B
Question: how well do the strong talents of Al Pacino and Sean Penn blend together on the screen? Answer: unbelievably well indeed! It was also a reunion of Pacino with Brain de Palma, who’d directed the gifted actor in "Scarface" some ten years earlier.
Based on two separate novels, the story is of Puerto Rican drug dealer Carlito Brigante (Pacino) who tries to go straight after serving a term in jail. Unfortunately his loyalty to old friends still on the wrong side of the law tends to hamper his progress somewhat.
His reunion with former lover and Broadway dancer Gail (Penelope Ann Miller) renews his idealistic vision, though his off-beat attorney Dave Kleinfeld (Sean Penn, in a ropey Harpo Marx-type hairpiece that’s almost comical) has his doubts. But then Kleinfeld is doing both cocaine and excessive booze…so how much can his help be relied on?
As with most de Palma films: the screenplay see-saws between the very violent and the near-pedestrian – but is never boring…and this one is worth seeing for the acting performances alone!
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