Scarface (1983): Breakdown by Kain424
Cuban refugee kills his way to the top of the cocaine world but remains an annoying moron throughout. Carnage and unintentional hilarity ensue.
Scarface is a movie that bounces back and forth between being immensely entertaining and terribly boring. The film is essentially about rising to the top and fucking it all up. Director Brian DePalma (The Untouchables) does a great job displaying the late 70s and early 80s drug trade. Hell, DePalma does a great job displaying everything in this film. The whole thing looks great, with every visual stunning and every death a bloody one.
The synthesized score by Giorgio Moroder is simply addicting, and the 80s pop tunes that blare throughout the duration are, well, very 80s. The movie is a nice mark in the history of film, where one can clearly see the 80s taking over from the 70s, with the film’s violence, bodycount, weaponry, and camera movements becoming more crisp and distinct.
While all this is very interesting, some more work could have gone into the characters, all of which are base, superficial and almost entirely unlikable. I can’t figure out if the film is DePalma’s giant ethnic slur against Cubans or if it’s trying to be some kind of satire on the late 70s/early 80s cocaine culture.
Whatever the case, the movie is a violent, cocaine-fueled time-travel trip to the early 80s. It’s nasty, brutal, and fairly fun, but the nearly three-hour run-time causes it to drag a bit. Watch only if you’ve got the time and really like gangster flicks.
[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]
Al Pacino is Tony “Scarface” Montana
“Who do you think you’re fucking with, huh? I’m Tony Montana! You fuck with me, you’re fuckin’ with the best!”
“All I have in this world is my balls and my word. And I don’t break ’em for nobody.”
“You think you can take me? You’re gonna need a fuckin’ army, you gonna take me!”
For whatever reason, DePalma decided to allow Pacino to spit, scream, growl, and scowl for nearly three hours. Apparently this was a brilliant decision because a lot of people love this film.
Tony Montana is an aggressive opportunist, uneducated but very driven. It’s hinted that he is so ambitious due to his humble beginnings, but is most likely power hungry because he was a capitalist living in a communist state. He’s greedy, paranoid, headstrong, loud, and lethal. He may seem loyal at first, but he is quick to sense weakness in others and use that to his advantage.
He is one tough son of a bitch, however. After taking about 50 or so rounds, he’s still standing, ready to keep fighting. Cocaine’s a helluva drug.
[THE BODY COUNT: 40]
While not the highest of bodycounts, DePalma goes for quality over quantity. Each kill is accompanied by generous amounts of either squib-blasts or red liquid. This helps to enhance the impact of every onscreen death and make every moment of violence feel that much more real.
Tony Montana kills 26 people by himself, and the rest are from other goons, be it Montana’s hired help or the opposition. All in all, pretty damn appropriate for a film about drug-related violence.
[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]
Tony Montana’s death is easily the most satisfying. Let’s face it, by the end of the film, he’s lost all sympathy or even relatability, having fucked over his associates, killed his best friend, and ruined his family’s life. Scarface is so coked out that he doesn’t even seem to realize what he’s done and remains unrepentant even at the end, talking himself up while attempting to kill the swarm of assassins storming his mansion. In any case, it’s the best scene in the film.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
Even though it’s the 80s, there is practically nil in the gay department, aside from the goofy and outlandish costumes. The prettiest male in the picture has the hormones of a hound dog and is constantly trying to pick up the ladies, so I guess there’s just not much to report here.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
While EVERYONE in this film is shown to be shallow and generally bitchy, the women are still treated as objects. There is no respect given to the females of Scarface, save for the fact that Michelle Pfeiffer’s Elvira is about the only main character to survive the film.
And damn, the 80s spared no one from looking stupid:
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
Tony skulks at home, when an army of assassins come raiding. Himself the only person left alive in the mansion, his future looking grim, Tony makes his last, cocaine-fed stand against a world seemingly against him.
“I’ll take you all to fuckin’ Hell!”
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
The American Dream doesn’t involve cocaine. And if you’re a greedy, obnoxious douche-bag, you’d better watch your back.
[THE CHECKLIST: 18 outta 25]
[ ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[ ] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[ ] Factory/Warehouse
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[X] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[ ] Unnecessary Sequel
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice