Everywhere you turn here in Louisville, there is some young person idolizing Al Pacino’s character Tony Montana from Brian de Palma’s 1983 film Scarface. Posters, shirts, coffee mugs, keychains, tattoos, and almost everything else imaginable seems to have his name or face on it. A good question would be to ask these people is, did they ever even see the movie? Montana is a heartless human slab of meat who goes around murdering in cold blood, incestually pursuing his sister, snorting cocaine, spouting f-words, and being a total buffoon for almost three hours. Its a complete embarrasment to Al Pacino that he even played this character.
Ruthlessly violent Cuban refugee and his best friend Manny reach Miami, Florida together on the 1980 Mariel Boatlift, where thousands of Cubans fled the economic failures of their own country. Tony and Manny are sent off to a refugee camp, but powerful drug deal Frank Lopez arranges for them to receive their green cards, in exchange for assassinating a former Cuban government official. Of course, Tony doesn’t hesitate, and succeeds in his mission. This starts a longterm relationship between him and Frank, during which he executes a great number more of brutalities, as well as getting frisky with Frank’s woman.
Tony continues to grow in his wickedness, He does more and more. He’s ambitious but not incredibly smart. He eventually gets himself in over his head, and thanks to his hot temper, he digs himself in even further. Watching the film is nauseating. Montana is disgusting to an incredible extent. Few movie characters so well-known are so repulsive.
Scarface was given an “X” rating for the first, second, and third cuts, due to it’s astonishingly brutal violence, incessant strong language, and explicit drug usage. Director Brian de Palma consulted a panel of experts, including narcotics officers, who said that it was an accurate representation of the real-life drug underworld and should be widely seen, which convinced the members of the ratings board to give the third cut an “R” rating by a vote of 18 to 2. But do we need to see this kind of stuff in order to understand how bad it is? We don’t need to see a pedophile explicitly sexually molesting a small child in order to understand how wrong that is, do we? No.
Whatever muddled moral the movie supposedly has about crime not paying seems to be lost on the youth culture of today. Apparently, even though Montana is wicked and brutal to the core, murders his mentor, his best friend, everyone else in his life, and then ends up dead in a pool of his own blood, he is interpreted as a hero by the current generation. Because he has a lot of money? Really? This is why the narcotics officers, the studio producers, de Palma, and everyone else involved in this production should have had more sense than to think people needed to see this trash, because all it has done is generate admiration for Tony Montana’s mindset in the youth of today.
On top of all this, the film is long, boring, predictable, and sensational. A pathetic directorial effort by Brian de Palma. Scarface is overrated, offensive, and obtuse. Avoid it.