Scarface  (1983)

IMDB Rating 8.4/10  170 min - Rated 18 Crime | Drama

Stars:            Al Pacino,  Michelle Pfeiffer,  Steven Bauer Director:      Brian De Palma

Tony Montana (Pacino) is a Cuban refugee who tries to go straight on his arrival in the US. When that doesn't work out, he turns to crime and over time, and numerous bloody and violent deaths, comes to run the Miami cocaine underworld. What goes up must come down, however, and the film charts Tony's inevitable paranoid decline.  Written by a young Oliver Stone and directed by Brian De Palma after a number of critical flops, Scarface has become one of the iconic gangster movies. So much so, that many forget that it was itself a remake of the 1932 classic, which was perhaps as controversial at that time as this was when first released. Eschewing the poetic beauty and themes of family ties, the honour and respect of the Godfather films, this is an altogether different beast; one where people meet their end by chainsaw and where the protagonist is clearly insane from the beginning.  To that extent, it's what Goodfellas would have been had Scorcese concentrated on Pesci's character rather than Liotta's. Not a thinking man's gangster movie, we feel little sympathy or attachment for Tony Montana during his rise to power and miserable descent. Perhaps that is the point; surely better that than an admiration for the murderers in the Corleone family. The destruction of Pfieffer is certainly not pleasant, although in other respects the film is riotously enjoyable, full of eighties' excess and brutal, almost comic book, violence. From the enormous pad with room-sized sunken bath, the scene with Tony burying his face in a giant bowl of cocaine to the fiinal ultra - violent shootout on the staircase, this film contains scene after scene of decadent, guilty pleasure.