This remake of the 1932 Howard Hawks film of the same name substitutes the crime world of 1920s Chicago with the drug trade of 1980s Miami, as violent, megalomaniac Cuban drug lord Tony Montana ascends the mob ranks.
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Due to its scant runtime, 1932 ran into a lot of trouble in its pacing: cramming so many events into itself that it did it un-seamlessly. 1983 is nearly 80 minutes longer, therefore its crime-story epicism of a kingpin's rise and fall is actually developed; its dramatic and emotional beats are more pronounced. 1983 is still largely uber-dark melodramatic storytelling, but it's much more engaging than 1932.
No anti-hero hagiography here: instead a cartoonish, satiric hatchet-job on vulgarity and excess, edged in political comment (typical of Stone). By not hedging it’s bets from the outset this rises above similar studies in organised crime - Scorsese take note - into a glorious opera of squalidly grand gestures and posturing machismo, revealing the pathetic man beneath the glitter - this is no plucky immigrant story.
Caricatured hokum that fails as a satire as much as a gangster film. Nonetheless, the film's poster managed to don a manifold number of dorm room walls. Scarface as a symbol of anarcho-capitalist wish-fulfilment has aged in comparison to Leo's take on Jordan Belfort in 'The Wolf of Wall Street'.
Perhaps the single most ridiculously camp film ever made. If The Godfather is the Shakespeare of gangster movies, then this is the Wiseau. The story of how a man, driven insane by his incestuous guilt and diminutive stature, gets high on his own supply, adopts a terrible Cuban accent, and invests in some quite dreadful lacquered furniture. Absolutely bonkers.
The man wanted a tiger so he bought a fucking tiger. That, my friends, is true power. Yes, I know, he also built an empire but what really matters here is the correlation between the verbs "to want" and "to have".
A brash, Day-Glo coloured, plastic-operatic-fantasia of excess that is essentially 'about' excess; the excess of 80s capitalism against the corruption of the American dream. While far from Stone's greatest script, the film has a tremendous energy; the powerhouse combo of Pacino's performance, De Palma's direction & Scarfiotti's design resulting in something that's part Hitchcock's Godfather, part avant-garde "event."
Brian DePalma wants to be Jean-Luc Godard, but all he can do is make mediocre movies. Most end up looking like made for TV movies. The appeal of this movie is the glorification of drugs and violence. Yippee!