Monday, March 14, 2005

carlito's way [march 12/13, 2005]

DVD annoyance rant: People who make DVDs like this should be shot (or have their family jewels seasoned with hot crushed peppers). The DVD goes straight from the unskippable copyright notice to an unskippable preview for the digitally remastered edition of Scarface; and then to the digitally remastered edition of Animal House; then Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life (2 DVD) before giving us a glimpse of the main menu for Carlito's Way, the movie in question.

Brian de Palma visits familiar territory on several fronts with this tale of a Corsican gangster trying to go straight. There's the obvious echo of Scarface (aided in no small measure by the presence of Pacino in both films). But more importantly, we get a glimpse of vintage de Palma in the use of slow motion and the staging of long sequences of nail-biting suspense featuring railway stations (see also: The Untouchables). There's also some nice use of filters and long uninterrupted shots. Another device that peppers the film is the use of dissolves. Aside from being a well-acted, well-scripted tale of destiny in a downward spiral, this is a great source for wonderful examples of how the way you stage a sequence can elevate it above the ordinary.

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