Scarface Brian De Palma

Scarface Brian De Palma
Say hello to a familiar little friend with this two-disc reissue of Brian De Palma's 1983 gangster epic Scarface. Inspired by the 1932 Howard Hawkes film of the rise and fall of an American gangster, Oliver Stone's script instead follows Cuban immigrant Tony Montana's (Al Pacino) rise to prominence in coked-addled early '80s Miami. The showcase for this well-known, heavily-quoted film's reissue is a nearly hour-long series of featurettes that follow the casting, rehearsal, staging and impact of the controversially violent, operatic tale. The candid enthusiasm of Pacino, De Palma and producer Martin Bregman in a series of interviews makes up for the lack of a commentary track. The features particularly draw out the high level of acting in the film, particularly from then-unknowns Michelle Pfeiffer and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. The level of violence and furious flying fucks (161 according to one count) are highlighted in a short feature that compares the original film with the version trimmed for TV. A distinct line between a 20-year-old film and contemporary music culture is drawn by Def Jam Presents: Origins of a Hip-hop Classic, where rappers are interviewed in Montana-worthy mansions about how the gangster's rise provided inspiration, musically and personally, for their own careers. From a critical perspective, it's not De Palma's best work; its pacing stumbles mid-film. But for sheer hedonistic viewing pleasure, revel in the sight of Pacino falling face first into a mountain of cocaine while meeting his Peckinpah-worthy end. Plus: deleted scenes. (Universal)