Carlito’s Way – 4K UHD + BLU RAY

Carlito’s Way - 4KUHD & Blu-ray dual format release

1990 had seen The Godfather Part III and Goodfellas released and it bought mob movies back into favour. Al Pacino had had his eye on two books by Edwin Torres a judge for New York’s Supreme Court. The books were based on his own experiences of who he had seen in his court room and stories that had arisen from cases and he used his experience to write two books centred on a fictional Puerto Rican convict he named Carlito. There was a sense of realism about the character and screenwriter David Koepp, who had been scripting a little film called Jurassic Park, combined both books into one screenplay for director Brian De Palma that would become, ‘Carlito’s Way’.

De Palma had worked with Pacino before on the remake of Scarface and having had huge commercial success with The Untouchables had been mauled for his adaptation of The Bonfire of the Vanities. Initially reluctant to do another Puerto Rican gangster tale after Scarface De Palma agreed after reading the script and his highly cinematic style was ideal for several of the stories set pieces along with Pacino whose hoo-ha-ing style that he used for Oscar success in Scent of a Woman would continue in Carlito’s Way (and frankly the rest of his career too!)

Gangster Carlito Brigante (Pacino) gets released early from prison thanks to the work of his lawyer, Kleinfeld (Sean Penn). Vowing to go straight, Carlito nonetheless finds dangers waiting for him in the outside world. As Carlito works toward redemption, Kleinfeld sinks into cocaine-fuelled corruption. When Kleinfeld crosses the mob, Carlito gets caught in the crossfire and has to face a hard choice: remain loyal to the friend who freed him or protect a new life with the woman he loves (Penelope Ann Miller). With enemies closing in from all sides, Carlito must find his way before it’s too late.

De Palma had cast well with Carlito’s Way . Pacino was enough of a draw for Penn to come out of a semi retirement he had been in since 1990’s State of Grace and he embraced the role of a dodgy duplicitous lawyer plunging himself  into it an making himself almost unrecognisable shaving the front of his head and perming the rest and looking so much like real life lawyer Alan Dershowitz that Penn was threatened with a law suit.  As the romantic interest Penelope Ann Miller was good in a role that had been difficult to cast due to several scenes of nudity and John Leguizamo, having had one of his first roles in DePalma’s Casualties of War (1989) would return in a weightier role as the thorn in Carlito’s side. It also helped overshadow his lead role in the catastrophic disaster that was the live action would be summer 1993’s  blockbuster Super Mario Bros.

Carlito’s Way was a continuation of form for De Palma. His previous film Raising Cain, a kind of melodramatic psychodrama continued his flair for exceptional set pieces which continued here seen best in a  scene in a barber’s back room where Carlito accompanies his cousin in a drug deal where, right from the start, he can see something is wrong.

Carlito’s Way didn’t set the box office alight but it did decent enough business and it would secure DePalma the job helming the first Mission Impossible film (we rate the MI films here) giving him full reign to demonstrate further his mastery of the set piece.

Released on  Limited Edition UHD + Blu-ray Dual Format there’s a huge array of extras that includes:

– High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
– Original 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
– Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
– Brand new audio commentary by Matthew Seitz, author of The Wes Anderson Collection and The Soprano Sessions
– Brand new audio commentary by Dr Douglas Keesey, author of Brian De Palma’s Split-Screen: A Life in Film
– Carlito and the Judge, a brand new interview with Judge Edwin Torres, author of the novels Carlito’s Way and After Hours on which the screenplay for Carlito’s Way is based
– Cutting Carlito’s Way, a brand new interview with editors Bill Pankow and Kristina Boden
– De Palma’s Way, a brand new appreciation by film critic David Edelstein
– All the Stitches in the World: The Locations of Carlito’s Way, a brand new look at the New York locations of Carlito’s Way and how they look today
– De Palma on Carlito’s Way, an archival interview with director Brian De Palma
– The Making of Carlito’s Way, an archival documentary on the making of the film, produced for the original DVD release
– Theatrical trailer
– Image gallery
– Limited edition packaging with reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Obviously Creative
– Double-sided fold-out poster featuring newly-commissioned artwork by Tom Ralston and Obviously Creative
– Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Barry Forshaw and original production notes

What it does miss is up to date input from both Pacino and perhaps more importantly DePalma himself but as each are both  83 years old the window of opportunity is getting smaller., Nonetheless Carlito’s Way is one of the directors better films being both stylishly executed and engrossingly told.

related feature: Neil Maskell talks ‘Bull’ – the extraordinarily brutal yet brilliant British film

related feature: The story behind the shot……. Carrie (1976) directed by Brian de Palma

Here’s the Carlito’s Way trailer……

Carlito’s Way Limited Edition UHD + Blu-ray is out on 25th September 2023


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