Jake Duvall’s review published on Letterboxd:
I think this is more so the Cuban American version of the godfather - or maybe just Goodfellas with Al Pacino, either way this movie was pretty great.
The setup for the entire almost 3h runtime of this movie was pretty brilliant. Even though it portrays most of the Cuban American's migrating to be criminals, we see Tony Montana as a strict hater of the political system in Cuba, and recognizes what it takes to become rich and live luxuriously in America: commit crimes. We see him commit his first crime early in the movie alongside his soon to be best friend, and this isn't some robbery or jaywalking, no, he full on murders a man. There was no secret Tony Montana would do whatever it takes to get what he wants, and he knew exactly what do to get there.
The characters in this movie are all the typical gangster thug mafia type who are quick to temper and don't like being taken advantage of. Tony does the classic work-your-way-up-and-then-kill-your-boss strategy we're so familiar with nowadays, and he has his loyal hounds and an odd lack of beautiful women on his side.
The plot is more or less the story and eventual downfall of Tony Montana, and we get a Scorsese-type lifelong biographical on this character, however this one is fictional instead of being based on a true story. The progressive destruction of Montana's mental health is so well executed, eventually leading to the murder of his boss, his best friend, cops, other drug dealers, and eventually himself. The man is never being percieved as a good guy, no matter how many wisecracks and cute moments he is shown doing, which makes him the epitome of the American Gangster anti-hero. At least in the Godfather and the Irishman, the main character is seen doing evil things in usually justified manners, but Montana just kills people who get in his way with little to no regret until the last scene.
Overall this movie did the classic gangster plot, and it put a unique twist on it with a Cuban instead of the go-to Italian of the time. That being said, I quite heavily enjoyed this one, and the 2h50m long runtime may have been a bit excessive, and the music was used very sparingly only in important scenes. But overall the acting and setting was very enjoyable, so I'll give it a 8/10.