Good evening one and all.
It is Monday night and therefore, FFFD is back and raring to go.
There is unfortunately just one film this week folks, but it is a good 'un.
Also, just a wee message for the lot of you before we really get started:
As some of you may know, next month is November. Among the many events and occasions that fall within this month, there is the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It is a challenge to write a 40,000 word novel within November and it is a challenge I have chosen to accept this year. As a result, November may be a quiet time for Film Flare. I have plans to pre-write a few FFFD entries and may hopefully have time for a film review or two (Skyfall! woo!) but overall, my level of activity will dip somewhat during November.
But fear not gentle readers! For in December, Santa will grab his bulging sack and launch hot streams of words towards your eyes in the form of Film Flare. Simply put, I will be back at my productive peak come December.
So yes! Film!
The film is a classic, no doubt about that. There are more than enough quotable lines and recognisable images and scenes in this film that it is obvious of its influence on culture but what I was most struck by with this film is the excess. In a film about excess, it makes sense to have an excess of violence, language and so on. However, you tend to forget just how bloated the film seems.
But first the positives:
Al Pacino is amazing, from his flawless accent to his slightest body language, Tony Montana is a feral being, barely contained rage. His rise to power comes less from intellect and tactics but instead from sheer will and a desire to go beyond his rivals. Obviously, once he hits the top this same attitude ends up being his downfall.
The rise and fall of Tony Montana is pretty thrilling stuff. The film shows his rise from the very beginning and part of the film's excess is the amount of time the film spends with Tony on the rise. Once he is actually there, the film is quick to depose him but most of the film's excessive running time is spent on Tony and his rise to power.
Just as Pacino is on form, the supporting cast are superb as well. The underused Michelle Pfeiffer is lovely to look at but is given woefully little to do. Less can be said of Tony's sister, Gina (played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). As Tony's relationship with his family is explored, Gina becomes more prominent and eventually, her closeness to Tony is her downfall too.
The direction is pretty good, the colours and style standing out. However, even with several classic scenes standing out, Brian de Palma has done better direction in later films. The language is non-stop and the violence is at times utterly intense, the screen being filled with language and blood as freely as drugs and alcohol runs. This being my point about excess, the film starts to lose impact as it goes on, your resistance to such language and sights worn away but just as this starts to happen, the film starts to gather an emotional edge (mostly involving Tony's friends and family) to keep you hooked.
All in all, Scarface is a classic piece of cinema but the price of excess is an overly long running time with language and violent in spades.