Watch: Brian De Palma’s ‘Carlito’s Way’ and the Vulnerability of Al Pacino

Watch: Brian De Palma’s ‘Carlito’s Way’ and the Vulnerability of Al Pacino

Al Pacino never played a more nakedly conflicted character than he did in Brian De Palma’s ‘Carlito’s Way.’ Sure, there was the famous "dragging me back in" moment from ‘The Godfather Part II," but even the thugs caricatured in ‘The Sopranos’ made fun of that line. You could say that his recent performance in ‘The Humbling’ showed a soul torn between the desire for glory and the desire for happiness. But really, his turn as Carlito in De Palma’s film showed us a man who, in his heart, wanted strongly not to be a criminal but somehow could not reverse inevitable patterns–and did so indelibly. 1848 Media’s meticulous and brilliant breakdown of the infamous poolhall scene from ‘Carlito’s Way’ shows us what was at stake in the character’s life, both in real time and in the span of the plot–and how all of this was expressed through the positioning of the camera. This film is under-watched, among De Palma’s works, which seems unfortunate; it glides with a confidence his other movies don’t always display, prey as they are to jerks of suspense alternated with Ken-Russell-level decadence. Kudos to Julian Palmer for giving this film the very close look it deserves–this is the second episode in the excellent "The Discarded Image" series, preceded by a remarkable piece on the famous beach scene from ‘Jaws.’ 

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