| Scarface is director Brian DePalma at his
best. The glossy photography and slick camera movements blend perfectly into an operatic
send-up of the American dream. DePalma makes the most of the major assets at his disposal,
notably an extraordinarily effective, over the top, Al Pacino, and an entertaining and
driving screenplay from Oliver Stone. It is a tribute to the filmmaker that despite a
running time of almost three hours, Scarface never drags and seems no longer than
the typical 100 minute Hollywood production.
The first half of the film depicts the rise of Pacino's Cuban immigrant undesirable, Tony Montana, from North Miami Detention Center buried under a cloverleaf of expressways to a life in opulent palatial decadence atop a white cocaine mountain. Laced with violence often bordering on the offensive, it is nevertheless an integral element of this despicable dissection of life in the land of the drug lords.
Pacino's performance is
obviously central to the success of the film and it is his fascinating
interpretation(accent and all)of amoral depravity that grips the audience by the throat
and carries it along his march to the top. When the inevitable fall begins the film
stumbles, never quite recovering the force of earlier sequences. Pacino performance
likewise suffers the fate of the entire production, although the film, viewed as a whole
is immensely successful.