Scarface ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.


The times have finally changed. "Dressed to Kill" and "Blow Out" - though released in the early 80's - still felt deeply rooted in the decade before.

This, however, is a film about Ronald Reagan's America, with its cocaine-fueled excesses, it's unbridled capitalism and the endless greed for more. There is no more diffused and dreamily lighting. This is a world of strong colors and sharp contrasts.

Even the humor has changed. The irony isn't playful and tongue in cheek anymore. it has become bitter and dark.

When Tony Montana (Al Pacino) compares Elvira (Michelle Pfeiffer), the girlfriend of his boss, to a tiger, he actually means himself. In the first half of the movie, he moves around like a dangerous animal, always on his toes, always ready to attack. But wild animals that are caged too long become depressed and a shadow of themselves. They are still dangerous but wildly unpredictable and pitiful. This is Tony's final fate.

Oliver Stone's screenplay shows the full classic arc of the gangster on the rise and his ultimate downfall. Stone does a phenomenal job to make the viewer root for Tony and despise him simultaneously.

It's a marvelous picture, full of vigor, that is still very funny without sacrificing the impact of the emotional journey.

One small observation: Is it just a coincidence that Steven Spielberg has a shoot-out at a restaurant in Temple of Doom that bears some resemblance to this film or is this an inside joke between two friends and masters of the cinema?