Paul Lister’s review published on Letterboxd:
"So say goodnight to the bad guy! Come on. The last time you gonna see a bad guy like this again, let me tell you."
'Scarface' before 'The Wolf of Wall Street' may have been the most excessive work in American cinema. It's one of those films that you grow up on when you're younger based on it's legacy in pop culture. Certainly when I was growing up the film was on constant repeat, the ferocious performance by Al Pacino, the chainsaw killing, the sublime 80's score by Giorgio Moroder, the eminently quotable dialogue, the mansions, tigers, piles of cocaine and the most spectacular 'blaze of glory' ending just absolutely did it for me when I was younger.
Today I admit I don't quite like it as much as I did but it was held in such lofty esteem back then that even a slightly diminished opinion of it cannot hide the fact that 'Scarface' to me is a incendiary film that I'll always come back to from time to time to watch Tony Montana's glorious rise and fall in search of the American Dream.
Length was not something I had much of an issue with back when I was younger, back when I had a long attention span. Now I watch 'Scarface' and I feel it's length. it could do with being cut down a little for sure. There is always an argument for films portraying a great excess that they be excessive in length but I don't really buy it. At the end of the day the story is essentially a rags to riches tail and I can at least appreciate how Brian De Palma glorifies the rise part so to make the fall all the more impressive.
What makes the film easy to stick with is Pacino. It is an astonishing performance, he has fire in his eyes from minute one, he is angry and volatile like you have never seen before. He is a monster of a character, incredibly unlikable yet absolutely compelling in the fact that he is driven by money and power for seemingly unknowable ends. Montana seems to want the money, power and women because that what he believes the American Dream is. It's about forging your own path but Montana seems more concerned about the status garnered by this rather than the actual spoils. He does seem to live by a certain code but his own greed and addictions inevitably cloud his judgements, his fiery personality allowed to get the better of him. Leading him to lose control of everything around him. The film overall doesn't have much in the way of likable characters and one of the least likable is certainly Michelle Pfeiffer as Tony's miserable coked up wife. Unlike Tony though there really isn't anything compelling about the character.
For all the films flaws though it really matters little to me be the time, "Say hello to my little friend", an absolutely fucking fantastic and fitting conclusion which see's Pacino go into overdrive! There really wasn't any other way for the film to end but my word De Palma brings the bullets, blood, tragedy and piles of cocaine to the fore in the most blazen of ways imaginable. He basically blows the American Dream right back to Cuba!