MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
Unlike many people in this land, I didn’t see “Scarface” until only a few years ago. I was too young for my parents to let me see it as a child, and I just never got around to seeing it in college. However, I will contend that it is one of Brian DePalma’s best films.
Telling the story of Tony Montana, a Cuban criminal who came over to Miami on the Mariel Boat Lift and worked his way to the biggest drug lord in the city, “Scarface” is a violent, intense and powerful flick. It’s easily Al Pacino’s greatest role because he had really honed himself as an actor by this point but hadn’t yet become a caricature of himself. It showed drug crime in a gritty, messy way, which hadn’t yet been fully realized on screen.
Even thirty years after the film was released, it’s a disturbing piece of work. Not just for the violence (although that is pretty intense even by today’s standards), but for its moral relativism. Prior to people like Quentin Tarantino, who helped usher in a new anti-hero, “Scarface” made us root for the guy even though he’s a terrible, terrible person.
For the first time, it’s been released on Blu-ray, and the movie looks pretty good, though it suffers from some contrast issues and other grain problems you see in older films like these that were not mastered for the digital home video market. But the full package is definitely worth checking out. That includes the original “Scarface” from 1932 on DVD as well as ten collectable art cards. Vintage DVD features are all included: deleted scenes as well as the featurettes “The World of Tony Montana,” “The Rebirth,” “The acting,” “The Creating,” “The Making of Scarface: The Video Game” and the somewhat humorous “Scarface: The TV Version.”
Exclusive Blu-ray features to this set includes the new feature-length documentary “The Scarface Phenomenon,” which includes some great and not-so-great interview subject but a nice retrospective of the film. There’s also the “Scarface Scorecard” which allows you to track the use of the word “fuck” as well as picture-in-picture video content.