Blu-ray review: Scarface

TAKING a look back at Al Pacino‘s movie roles, one or two stick out as star turns for the A-lister.

One of those is the fantastic, over-the-top Scarface (directed by Brian De Palma) from all the way back in 1983.

Time had never been kind to the aesthetic of the crime-thriller, but thanks to the wonders of modern technology, this classic is returning in crystal-clear Blu-ray. And it’s all the better for it.

Scarface is the tale of a Cuban immigrant – Tony Montana (Pacino) who, illegally, arrives of the shores of Miami looking for a better life.

Along with his best friend Manny (Steven Bauer), they quickly find themselves carrying out drug-running work for cartel boss Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia).

It’s not long though before the dirty work becomes somewhat boring for Tony. When he decides to doublecross Frank and his cohorts, first by cracking on to Lopez’s girlfriend Elvira (a young Michelle Pfeiffer) and then by taking his drugs ‘business’ off him.

As Tony’s life descends into a mix of greed, lust and violence, he loses grip on his life and it culminates in one of the most impressive endings ever brought to the big (and now small) screen.

Watching Pacino go from a young, fresh-faced Cuban to money-hungry nutcase is seeing a real actor at the height of his craft.

He had already shown what he could do with tough roles in the likes of The Panic In Needle Park and then The Godfather I & II, so it comes as no surprise to see his performance as Montana look so effortless.

Bauer is equally impressive as Manny. Loyal to the end, but finding himself in a catch .22 when he falls for Tony’s younger sister Gina (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), he never leaves the side of Montana whenever danger is around.

As for Loggia in the role of Frank, he’s equal parts imposing gangster and spineless creep – especially when Tony turns the tables on him in such cold-blooded fashion.

And what about the 21st century Blu-ray update? It must be said, Scarface benefits from the makeover.

Colours are more vivid. Blood has never looked so red. The sound is much clearer. And when Tony roars THAT immortal line: “Say hello to my little friend!”, the TV speakers vibrated like the house was in the centre of a bomb blast.

Never has a line been delivered with such gusto. It’s no wonder it’s so well-known.

Director Brian De Palma certainly seems to have an affinity with ‘gangster’ films and whenever people mention Scarface, his name is never far behind. He creates a world of excess, lowdown dirty scoundrels and glamorous women that sucks in the viewer.

At times you’ll find yourself siding with Montana. He just wants the nice things in life after a childhood living in poverty. But it’s the way he goes about getting his hands on things – like his gaudy chair with his initials on it (or Elvira) – that make him almost loathsome. But it’s a character you won’t forget quickly.

All in all, it’s great to see a classic film being given a little polish that takes nothing away from it.

Extras include a ‘making of’ for the Scarface videogame and an indepth look at the actors and their roles and even how it was all created.

A definite must-have for anyone with a Blu-ray player.

Scarface is released on Blu-ray on September 5.

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