Review for Carlito's Way Limited Edition 4K UHD and Blu-ray
Carlito is a career criminal, who due to his lawyer exploiting a weakness in the legal system is to be released. His desire is to go straight and leave his life of crime, this takes all of a few minutes before he is up to his knees in the criminal world that he longed so much to leave. Will he ever be able to leave this life and live in the paradise he wanted?
Carlito's Way is a phenomenal film. There is a part of me that believes that if Pacino had not won his Oscar for Scent of a Woman (a good performance, but certainly not his best) then he would certainly have been nominated for and won for this very thoughtful portrayal of Carlito. Unlike a lot of gangster and crime films it does not dwell on the violence and is not just action scenes for the sake of it. It is a very subdued film that is held together by this magical performance by Pacino.
Directed by Brian DePalma, who had previously directed Pacino in Scarface, this is a wonderful throwback to the noir-like films he had made in the Seventies and it is a shame that he never made more films like this. The shot composition, use of editing, music is simply amazing and it is a shock that DePalma has never even been nominated for a major award during his career.
Throughout the film there are moments of sheer brilliance. The bathroom shootout is so iconic it became the poster of the film. Performances by Sean Penn as his sleazy lawyer and Penelope Ann Miller as Carlito's love interest are just as good as Pacino as is an almost scene stealing John Leguizamo as the infamous Benny Blanco from the Bronx. This was and is a film that I have watched countless times and definitely one that I have rejoiced watching again.
The film is included in Ultra HD and Bluray and I will defy anyone who can tell me the difference. I’m sure side by side there are differences in the quality and the colour, but I just don’t see it. Suffices to say the film does look amazing and I will put that down to just how great De Palma was in making it.
Over two disks the film includes multiple features. Two commentaries one by Matt Zoller Seitz and one by Dr. Douglas Keesey. Neither had anything to do with the creation of the film, but are both very knowledgeable and able to talk about certain scenes, how they were constructed and what the meanings an stories behind them are. My only issue with this is that it feels very clinical and because it is only one once it feels at times like a lecture rather than a story. It is a little embarrassing when Keesey suggests you watch the film first before the Commentary as if that is not what a normal person who hasn’t seen the film would do. It would have been nicer to have had a commentary from someone who had been involved with the making of the film and this might have been a bit warmer and more enjoyable.
Three Interviews Carlito and the Judge is an interview with Judge Edwin Torres who wrote the books the Screenplay was based on. This was a great talk with the writer and it is fascinating how he came to use his experience to create this wonderful character and the events that happened to him.
Cutting Carlito's Way is an interview with editors Bill Pankow and Kristina Boden. This is an interesting look at the editing process and they clearly understand how important they are to the film as a whole.
De Palma on Carlito's Way is an archive interview with the Director and it is a shame that he doesn’t contribute more to the set. He clearly loved making this film and loves making films in general and his opinions are very clear and perfectly realised on screen.
De Palma’s Way is a look at the Directing work of this amazing Director by critic David Edelstein and not just by looking at Carlito's Way but his other work too.
All the Stitches in the World is a quick look at some of the locations of New York where the film was shot. Interesting, but could have done with some background from the Director or Locations Manager to show how they made certain places look the way they did.
Making of Carlito's Way appeared on the previous DVD release and is a good in-depth look at the making of the film. All the key people are spoken to, even the writer of the original stories and I thought this was a great look behind the scenes of the film.
Eight minutes of Deleted Scenes are fine though I do wish they would give context as to where the scene was deleted from.
Original Promo Featurette is a quick five minute look at the film's making and is a good way to promote the film. Teaser is basically a promo for how great Al Pacino is followed by quick cuts from the film without telling you anything about the film itself. The trailer is more thorough and a great edited quick look at the film.
Carlito's Way is a film that never gets mentioned in the same breath as The Godfather or Goodfellas and this is a shame as it is just as good if not better at times. If you have not seen this film and need to be convinced even more about how great Pacino is an Actor or DePalma is as a Director, then this is the way to see just why this is.