Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"Carlito's Way" with Al Pacino and Sean Penn (1993)

There are no friends in the drug game. That’s something you learn real young. And Carlito, played by Al Pacino, learned his lesson well. But did it stick? After 5 years in prison for trafficking in drugs; mostly heroin; he intends to go straight. But, when Carlito accompanies his cousin on a drug buy, things change.

His attorney, David Kleinfeld; played brilliantly by Sean Penn; has changed in the 5 years his client has been in jail. He has become a lawyer for the mob, with a cocaine habit to boot. When his mob bosses discover that he has stolen $1 million dollars from them, he turns to the newly released Carlito to help him stay alive. Feeling that he owes his lawyer a favor for getting his 30 year sentence commuted, he lends a hand in breaking one of the mobsters out of jail; in this case, a Rikers Island prison barge in New York. When Carlito discovers that his lawyer is nothing but a gangster himself; all the rules change.

As Carlito strives to become a legitimate nightclub owner, he finds himself more and more involved in his attorney’s problems. All of this drama puts a strain on his relationship with his old girlfriend, Gail; played by the always lovely Penelope Ann Miller; who is pregnant with his child. Still, Carlito feels obligated to do one this last favor for his lawyer and then move to the Bahamas, taking Gail with him. But once again, circumstances arise which make this goal impossible.

The film is also a good snapshot of the disco era and the cocaine epidemic which swept the nation during the 1970's. And, with great character acting by Luiz Guzman, as Carlito’s bodyguard; and John Leguizamo,  as Benny Blanco of the Bronx;  this film has a raw edge which will even have you forgiving Al Pacino’s less than perfect Hispanic accent. A very fast paced movie directed by Brian De Palma, from David Koepp’s screenplay of Edwin Torres novel, make this film one you will want to revisit from time to time.

No comments:

Post a Comment