Carlito's Way (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Carlito's Way is a stylish Brian de Palma piece about a drug dealer named Carlito who is released back into society on a legal technicality, and intends to use this God-sent serendipity to start a completely new life - an honest life away from the rackets. It is based upon two realistic books by a guy who grew up in the Puerto Rican barrios of New York, and later became a judge.
One of the most interesting things about the movie is that it is essentially a familiar western plot, except that it takes place outside of the Old West. Carlito is like a legendary gunslinger who sets down his weapon, then finds that he can't run from his reputation. Every guy who wants to be known as the fastest gun in the West either wants to kill him or hang with him.  All of the men he has ever known are deeply involved in the criminal life, and it's a struggle to make a few honest bucks so he can fly away and open his rental car agency on the islands. 


see the main commentary.

Penelope Anne Miller shows her breasts.

DVD info from Amazon

  • Widescreen letterboxed, 2.35:1

  • excellent transfer, but no significant features

It's a very good movie, featuring the usual fine performances from Sean Penn and Al Pacino, with a taut chase scene at the end though the New York subways and Grand Central Station. Not the least of the visual splendors in the movie was Penelope Ann Miller as Carlito's girlfriend. There is a sexy "staged voyeur" scene in Carlito's Way which rivals the one in Body Heat. Miller lets Pacino watch her through her chained door opening. She removes enough clothing, and teases him enough, to get him to break in.

This film is rarely mentioned as one of  Brian DePalma's directing successes or as one of Al Pacino's memorable roles, but I think it belongs on both lists, and I think IMDb members have it pegged quite well as a near-classic.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: none. Wildly divergent. Ebert 3.5/4, Berardinelli 2/4, Apollo 77.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it a near-classic 7.3 
  • With their dollars ... $37 million domestic gross.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a B-.

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