Dir. Brian De Palma. 1993, 144 mins. 35mm. With Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller. Freed on a technicality after serving just five years of a 30-year prison sentence, Pacino’s Carlito Brigante, a heroin dealer from Spanish Harlem, is determined to leave behind his criminal past and start a new life in the Bahamas. But, inevitably, going straight proves easier said than done. Brian De Palma’s virtuoso gangster saga is a showcase for his trademark bravura set pieces (including a chase and shootout in Grand Central Station) and for Sean Penn’s tour-de-force performance as Brigante’s smarmy, coke-addled lawyer. No less than taste-making French publication Cahiers du Cinema named Carlito’s Way the best film of the 1990s.
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