Actors: Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Robert Loggia
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 01/17/2006 Rating: R
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Wing J. Flanagan | Orlando, Florida United States | 11/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The reason to buy this DVD is simple: one of the most influential films of the 20th century has finally been released in a newly restored, pristine transfer. As an owner of the original DVD release, I can testify that the difference is like night and day. With every viewing, I come to appreciate Brian DePalma's Scarface more and more. Although not perfect, there is much more right with this film than wrong. It helps to compare it with its countless imitations: where most subsequent crime films rush headlong from one bloody gunfight to the next, Scarface takes its time. Its languid, gliding camera has a certain elegance in the way it reveals story points without relying on clunky Dick-and-Jane dialog or overwrought MTV pyrotechnics. A prime example is the infamous scene where Tony Montana (Al Pacino) attemps to buy two kilos of cocaine from some Coloumbians for his boss, Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia). Watch the way the camera drifts from the Miami Beach hotel room, across a peaceful sun-drenched street, over to the car where Tony's associates are waiting for him, then slowly back up to the bathroom window, where the sound of the idling chainsaw grows louder. Creepy. Insinuating. It's comparable to the best work of Hitchcock - a day-lit nightmare where the ordinary becomes sinister. Watch closely as the Columbian dismembers Tony's friend limb by limb. In spite of the scene's reputation, we never actually see what's happening. Like the shower murder in Psycho, all the violence is implied - so strongly, in fact, that DePalma had to fight the MPAA in a well-publicized battle to keep Scarface from receiving an X rating.It's interesting the way that the improved picture and sound seem to contribute to every aspect of the film. Subtleties in Pacino's largely unsubtle performance become clear. We can better see what he does with his face in those famously shadowy close-ups; the way he registers what he's thinking privately, even as he swaggers with exaggerated bravado. Where once it seemed he was over-acting at times, it is now apparent that he was carefully playing his character's machismo against a darker undercurrent of great hunger - so intense that it defies articulation. Tony Montana's great tragedy is his utter lack of self-knowlege. Beneath the clouds of cordite and testosterone, he is so painfully needy that he will draw everyone around him into a decaying orbit of destruction. He is a criminal, but he is not immoral. He is a black hole of a man, a vacuous human being whose desires eclipse whatever soul that a life of deprivation and decay may have left him. He acts without apology, or even much thought. He's an animal in both the best and worst senses of the word. The tragedy is not so much that he is killed at the end - he brings that on himself - it is that so many others, not least the addicts that buy his product, must suffer and die as well. It's downright Shakespearean, but with (lots of) f-words in place of gilded Elizabethan speech.Once you get past those 160-odd f-variants, Oliver Stone's screenplay begins to seem as thoughtful as it is blunt. The language is harsh, but also truthful, with plenty of quotable lines (though you would not want to quote them in polite company).The improved sound mix also brings into relief something that I had always looked upon as a liability of Scarface - the very "80's" music score, which had always seemed to me the newer equivalent of those ham-handed "jazz" scores from certain 50's melodramas like Man With the Golden Arm. But now the music seems "dated" more in the way of an early James Bond score; it is appropriate to the era. Were Scarface made now, it would still be a legitimate choice of styles.The extras are thorough, though the "making of" documentary seems to be a longer version of the one from the original DVD release. There is also a documentary on Scarface's considerable influence on hip-hop music, but I smell an Obvious Plug for a CD of music "inspired" by the film. (The package insert proclaims that it's In Stores Now! from DefJam records.) In any case, Scarface has finally received its due respect in a form that showcases the late John Alonso's brightly-hued, yet somehow gritty cinematography. Alonso also photographed the sumptuous Chinatown. This DVD is also a tribute to him - a master of light and shadow, whose old-fashioned, hard-lit chiaroscuro images contributed in no small way to Scarface's status as a modern classic."
On DVD, yet again...
N. Durham | Philadelphia, PA | 10/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Brian De Palma's blood soaked gangster epic is on DVD, once again. I'll say this right off the bat, if you own the previously released Special Edition of Scarface, there's no reason to run out and buy this Platinum Edition, which has an assortment of previously released extras to go along with a counter for how many times the "F" word is used and how many bullets are fired. Besides that, there's nothing here that hasn't been seen before, but if you don't already own Scarface on DVD, well then, this is worth picking up. As for the film itself, it's a bloody crime epic featuring one of Al Pacino's best, and most infamous, performances as Cuban hood turned drug kingpin Tony Montana; but chances are, you already know all that. The DVD's picture quality looks cleaner, and the "remastered and remixed" sound is crisper as well, but whether or not you want to lay down the cash for this depends on how many times you've been suckered into buying the movie."
Not another Edition!!
J. Bonnell | U.S.A. | 10/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The rating is for the movie itself! Repeat, the five star rating is for the movie only! This new "platinum" edition gets a BIG ZERO!!
The only new features on this edition are gimmicky, unnecessary and and definitely not worth the double dip, triple dip or added cost over already released editions. If you own the anniversary edition stick with it. (the Box is even better)
So, If you really need a counter for the "F" word and the number of bullets fired, because you are unable to count yourself, by all means dole out more of your money. Just bring someone who can count so you don't get ripped off even more!
A Gritty, Underworld Masterpiece.
Mr. Fellini | El Paso, Texas United States | 01/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Scarface" is one of the greatest of all mob movies. It's an epic crime drama done with style and care. Brian DePalma presents a film that ignites the screen with a great screenplay by Oliver Stone and an amazing performance by Al Pacino. Unlike "The Godfather," which was more about family and relationships between father and son, "Scarface" is an exhilarating and intriguing journey into Miami's mob underworld, seen through the eyes of Tony Montana, a Cuban refugee with some of the greatest lines in movie history. The degree of excess here is brilliantly done and adds even more realism to a great work. DePalma shows a wonderful touch of style in the sets, costumes, cars, even in the violence. Look at the brilliant eye for composition he shows in a scene where an assassination attempt is carried out on Tony in a nigh club. The movie is full of that Latin style and intensity. The screeenplay By Oliver Stone is brilliant because it's complex in the way in which we are not just interested in the action, but characters and events as well. We really care about what happens with these people, least of all Tony. Pacino gives one of the greatest and most intense performances, always believable. He steals the show entirely through his accent and facial expressions. The action sequences aren't dim-witted, but smart and stylish. "Scarface" vibrates with style and realism like few gangster dramas have. It stands as a masterpiece. One of the greatest crime pictures of all time."