Carlito's Way

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Universal Released 1993

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Movie Summary

Director:
Brian De Palma
Released:
1993
Rating:
R

Carlitoâ��s Way is a crime drama film directed by Brian De Palma that focuses on Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino), a former gang member, who decides on his release from prison to cut out from his old life of crime and make it straight. It is a tough life choice to live with, as his old neighborhood has become a distant memory of what he remembers with barely a few friends left, including gangster Pachanga (Luis Guzman) and sleazy lawyer David Kleinfeld (Sean Penn). It is even harder when he starts falling into the old patterns â�� joining in on drug deals, buying into nightclubs with shady origins, and dealing with a young Benny Blanco (John Leguizamo) who wants to beat Carlitoâ��s old reputation. Still determined to run it straight, he runs his club and tries to start a relationship with his ex Gail (Penelope Ann Miller). As Kleinfeld breaks down in a coke-induced state and Pachanga starts working for a competitor, Carlito discovers that it is a dog eat dog world where no one can be trusted.

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Metacritic Score

  • 100

    Slant Magazine Zach Campbell

    Though the story in Carlito's Way is treated in a fatalistic sense, the moment-to-moment, frame-to-frame experience is anything but rigid and stodgy from over-determination. It sin...

  • 90

    IGN

    Carlito's Way, like Casualties of War and Mission: Impossible, seems to stand at a nexus between commercial fealty and directorial idiosyncrasy; it's a sort of half-breed film that...

  • 88

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    The acting here, by Sean Penn, is a virtuoso tour de force - one of those performances that takes on a life of its own.

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Themes

mob mentality, end of the world, illegal activities, gritty crime scenarios, fight for survival