Brian De Palma directs Al Pacino, Sean Penn and Penelope Ann Miller in this period gangster drama where a Puerto Rican criminal tries to go straight in 1970s New York, his corrupt lawyer and legendary reputation have other ideas.
More disciplined than Scarface, yet frustratingly looser than The Untouchables. This is the Brian De Palma movie with some of his most stunning set pieces married to a listless and repetitive plot. Take a drink every time Al Pacino’s hardboiled narration doesn’t really match up with what is idling about on screen. Do a line every time somebody says “Benny Blanco from the Bronx.” Sean Penn’s performance is full fat, 100% committed to the sleaze of his character. Penelope Ann Miller sheds her good girl image as an exotic dancer. The pool hall trap and the Grand Central Station chase would have been the highlights of De Palma’s career. Nail bitingly orchestrated, patiently strung out, marvels of tension. Editor Bill Pankow’s finest cutting. Only for some misjudged reason we have already witnessed a flashforward to Carlito’s fate at the very start. Spoiler! “The street ees watchiiiing!”
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