At 28 years old, Scarface has rightfully earned its place as a legend of cinema. Furthermore, it’s also a film that almost everyone is familiar with in some capacity and if you’re reading this, there’s a very good chance that you’ve seen it, at least once. Scarface has left its legacy and impact on both the film world and society as a whole.
The 1980’s gangster pic sees Al Pacino giving us a ferocious performance as the iconic Tony Montana, a Cuban immigrant turned gangster. Set in the 1980’s Miami, the film charts Tony’s rise to power on the drug scene. We watch as Tony starts off with nothing but soon ascends the criminal ladder, stopping at nothing to reach the top and become the kingpin.
Of course, along the way, Tony is blinded by his own greed and hubris and starts to develop serious enemies and a nasty drug habit, both of which threaten to dethrone him from his current position.
When first released, the film caused a fury of controversy, mostly for its gruesome and visceral violence, most of which hadn’t been seen in mainstream cinema up to that point. But, the powerful, instantly quotable, and insanely watchable gangster film soon rose to stardom, claiming its place in Hollywood history.
The film is both vivid and terrifying in its portrayal of Montana, a man so hellbent on reaching the top that he’ll do whatever it takes to get there. Director Brian De Palma directs Tony’s bloody rampage to the top in a stylish and energetic manor, turning it into an America epic of sorts that is impossible not to be transfixed by.
As twisted as it is, at its core, this is the story of the American dream, something many people want to relate to, which is something that attributed to the success of the film. It just resonated with most people, on some level. And as for Tony Montana, he’s the bad guy that you love to hate. You simply can’t take your eyes off him as Al Pacino gives off an absolutely electrifying performance. Instead of acting, Pacino transforms himself into Tony Montana, his performance here is beyond acting, it’s next level so to speak.
It’s a timeless and fascinating film, one that can be watched over and over. Unforgiving and brutal in its depiction of violence and relentless in its energy and frenzy, Scarface is a masterpiece, one of cinema’s best. It’s a film that needs to be seen, if for nothing else than the impact it’s had and the legacy it’s left behind. Oh, and Al Pacino‘s tour de force performance.
There’s not much point in continuing to try and convince you to see the film. It’s almost 30 years old and if you’re reading this, you’ve likely seen it. For those wondering though, it still holds up and even in this day and age, I think it remains as a true masterpiece and one of the best gangster films of all time.
Clearly, this is the best presentation of the film that we’ve seen. That being said, it’s still not perfect. While most of the film looks quite good, crushing is certainly apparent at times and night/dark scenes aren’t exactly perfect. On the positive side, most of the colours are bold and natural while skintones also come off pretty nicely. Detail is particularly strong, especially considering the film’s age and contrast is also spot on.
Audio is similar in that it’s not perfect but is still the best the film has sounded. Chainsaws, guns and grenades all sound shockingly accurate and effective as they engage you in the unadulterated violence. Rear speakers fare well and dialogue is crisp and easy to make out for just about the entire film. A bit of crackling or unbalanced volume levels show up occasionally but it’s never too much of a problem.
Being the limited edition Blu-Ray, one would expect some fantastic features, especially for a film like this. Luckily, the package does not disappoint.
- Scarface (1932): Director Howard Hawks’ 1932 crime drama of the same name shows up on the disc. This is the original film and while it does differ from the 1983 version, there are similarities in both narrative and character. It’s an enjoyable watch and it’s interesting to see where the inspiration for De Palma’s gritty crime drama. Most consider it a classic and while I’d beg to differ, it’s definitely worth a watch.
- Picture in Picture Experience: A pretty solid PIP track with cast and crew talking about the film and its production. We also hear about Miami and the drug trade that has plagued it as well as how the public first reacted to the film. A very interesting companion piece and one worth checking out.
- Scarface Scoreboard: This U-Control feature counts the number of F-bombs and bullets that are found in the film. Kind of useless but fans of the film will likely get a kick out of it.
- The Scarface Phenomenon: A very interesting look at the history, impact, controversy and cult status of the film. Really enjoyed this one.
- The World of Tony Montana: Law enforcement officials and magazine owners discuss drug trafficking.
- The Creating: A look at the development of the film. We hear about the levels of violence, decisions made in terms of shooting, make up/visual effects and more.
- The Rebirth: A ten minute look at hor Howard Hawks’ Scarface inspired Brian De Palma’s Scarface.
- The Acting: A quick feature looking at the film’s performances.
- Scarface: The TV Version: A few scenes from the heavily edited TV version.
- The Making of Scarface: The World Is Yours: A rather useless look at the videogame based on the film.
- Deleted Scenes
- BD-Live Functionality
- My Scenes Bookmarking
Overall, the limited edition steelbook version of Scarface is a must own for just about anyone. The movie is as classic as it ever was and I had a hell of a time watching it. If you’re a fan of the film, this is a no brainer. If you’ve never seen it then there is no better time to jump in. This is an excellent package and one that will have most people pleased. A worthy addition to any Blu-Ray collection!
To this day, Scarface remains as a true masterpiece and one of the best gangster films of all time.