This is not my first Brian De Palma film, though I believe it is the first one of his best of’s. I’ve quite obviously watched Mission: Impossible. I’ve also seen Black Dahlia, though completely unaware it was a De Palma film – but honestly, it was 2006, I was 14 years old, all I cared about was that Josh Hartnett was in it. So between Hartnett and some stylish sunglasses, my perception of this director wasn’t that great. But with a record like Scarface, The Untouchables and Carlito’s Way, one cannot be unaware of him.
Carlito’s Way came across to me as a rather funny film. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be that way, but the characters seemed almost like a caricature of the typical latin-american-gangster. I’m a big fan of gangster movies. I rejoice with the sleek hair, those over-the-top gold rings, and of course, the character’s names. Carlito’s Way actually has some good ones: Carlito Brigante, Pachanga, the traditional Vinnie, Tony and Frankie Taglialucci, Guajiro, Rolando, and perhaps the film’s most iconic name, Benny Blanco – played by the amazing John Leguizamo. Such musicality.
But on a more serious note, the acting is superb. Al Pacino is Al Pacino, that owl-like look is unforgettable. But Sean Penn was the one that truly surprised me: I knew it was him playing Kleinfeld, but I had a hard time believing it, and not only because of that flashy hairstyle, but mainly because of his voice. The last two Sean Penn films I saw were Milk and I Am Sam, and the variation of his voice in these three films is astonishing – not only concerning accents but also, and most importantly, in terms of tone and rhythm. From the entire length of this film, the only part that I didn’t particularly like, and actually annoyed me a bit, was that last scene – she cries don’t leave me, Charlie way too many times. Or maybe that’s just me.
Creator at Returning Videotapes, Chick with Accent on the Across The Universe Podcast, Cary Grant devotee.