4K UHD Review: Carlito’s Way

Blu-ray Reviews, Reviews, Top Story

Does anyone make a tryptic of Al Pacino’s gangster characters? There should be an Orthodox artwork celebrating Pacino’s darker roles. The actor came to prominence in the ’70s playing Michael Corleone in Godfather and Godfather Part II. He became the ultimate ’80s gangster as Tony Montana in Scarface. During the ’90s, he gave us a different type of mobster as Carlito Brigante in Carlito’s Way. Pacino proved he could play underworld figures that were Italian, Cuban and Puerto Rican. While his time as Michael and Tony often get noticed, Carlito doesn’t quite get the clout he deserves on the street. After watching Carlito’s Way on 4K UHD, you’ll sense Pacino’s third turn as a mobster deserves to be rated with the other two.

Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino) has a new lease on life. He had been sentenced to 30 years in prison, but gets sprung after five years when his lawyer Dave Kleinfeld (Fast Times At Ridgemont High‘s Sean Penn) proves that the D.A.’s office used an illegal wiretap. While everyone on the street of New York City think he’s going to get back in the game as a drug dealing assassin, Carlito has different plans. He has an offer to be part of a profitable car rental place on a Caribbean Island. He just needs to scrape up $75,000. He wants to earn the money legitimately since he can’t handle the extreme violence of 1975. He goes along with a kid that’s buying drugs in what should a simple “in and out” exchange, it turns into a massacre. Luckily his lawyer has an offer to manage a disco that’s losing money because the owner has running up a huge gambling debt. Carlito takes charge and starts collecting his retirement funds. Carlito bring his pal from the neighborhood Pachanga (Boogie Nights‘ Luis Guzman) as his second set of eyes. He even goes back to find his old girlfriend (The Freshman‘s Penelope Ann Miller). She’s happy he’s going legit and they get back to together. Carlito looks like he’s going to be renting Pintos soon. Then things start working against him. He has to deal with Benny Blanco From the Bronx (Summer of Sam‘s John Leguizamo) showing up at his club. His lawyer keeps pulling him into favors that cumulates with one nasty adventure in the Hudson River. Is Carlito going to get to retire or be retired?

Carlito’s Way often gets overshadowed by Pacino and De Palma’s Scarface. There previous film is flashier with Miami in the ’80s and the piles of cocaine. New York City in the mid-’70s isn’t quite so colorful and most of the cocaine is going up his lawyer’s nose. Sean Penn’s hair should have won the Oscar for Special Effects. It’s a rather ugly coif for a successful lawyer. This isn’t a glamorous movie except during the scenes when Tony and Gail are romantic. Unlike Tony Montana’s rise to power, Carlito is figuring out how to get away from the crime since he doesn’t want to end up like Tony. The third act of the film show De Palma at his finest as he uses his complicated tracking shots during the chase without making them stick out from the action. There are great and exciting touches as he attempts to get things right before he splits New York City. Carlito’s Way is the right way to bring Al Pacino’s trilogy of mobster icon to an end.

The Video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The 4K UHD transfer is presented in High Dynamic Range. You’ll be able to admire Sean Penn’s hair better. The Audio on the 4K UHD is 5.1 DTS-HD MA and DTS-X audio. The Audio on the Blu-ray is 5.1 DTS-HD MA and 2.0 DTS-HD MA. You’ll be able to get those early disco songs blasting. The movie is subtitled in English.

Double-sided fold-out poster featuring newly-commissioned artwork by Tom Ralston and Obviously Creative

Seven double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproductions from when studios put out cool lobby cards.

Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Barry Forshaw and original production notes

Audio commentary by Matt Zoller Seitz, author of The Wes Anderson Collection and The Soprano Sessions is on both the 4K UHD and Blu-ray discs. He discusses how the film gives away the ending in the opening shot. He points out that the mystery is how Carlito ended up here.

Audio commentary by Dr. Douglas Keesey, author of Brian De Palma’s Split-Screen: A Life in Film is on both 4K UHD and Blu-ray discs. He reminds you to watch the film with the subtitles to make sure you get it all. He gets into other films that have the same structure as Carlito’s Way. We get an explanation of Sean Penn’s hairdo.

Carlito and the Judge (12:32) has Judge Edwin Torres talk about seeing his favorite actor playing his character. He hadn’t written anything before the novels. He lists the various hoodlums who became part of the character of Carlito.

Cutting Carlito’s Way (17:22) has editors Bill Pankow and Kristina Boden discuss their work. “We do the final write,” Boden says. Which is true. They felt privileged to work on Brian De Palma film.

De Palma’s Way (17:33) is an appreciation by film critic David Edelstein. He talks about not knowing what made De Palma become Hitchcock Jr. De Palma was coming off three bombs and needed to make a commercial thriller when Carlito’s Way arrived.

All the Stitches in the World: The Locations of Carlito’s Way (2:59) taks on a tour of how the New York City locations look now.

De Palma on Carlito’s Way (5:28) is a vintage interview with Brian De Palma. He discusses how he loves to go to the locations to capture what it is like to be there. He gets into how he writes from a visual perspective.

The Making of Carlito’s Way (34:36) stars with novelist Edwin Torres talk about the process of going for page to screen. Al Pacino wanted to make the film although he thought the original script wasn’t good, he liked the character. Screenwriter David Koepp worked with Torres to get the flavor needed to make the film. It’s pointed out that while the script is Carlito’s Way, it’s more based of Torres’ second Carlito book After Hours. De Palma didn’t want to make another gangster film, but he was impressed by the script. Torres also guided the director to understanding the neighborhood. This was made for the DVD release.

Deleted Scenes (8:18) has Pacino checking out Sean Penn’s apartment.

Original promotional featurette (5:13) was the EPK. Brian De Palma calls it a very romantic movie.

Theatrical teaser (1:46) gives us Al Pacino’s resume over him taking off his sunglasses.

Theatrical Trailer (2:46) gives us Al Pacino as a gangster with a heart.

Image gallery has over 270 press photos and behind the scenes shots.

Arrow Video presents Carlito’s Way. Directed by Brian De Palma. Screenplay David Koepp. Starring Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller, John Leguizamo & Luis Guzmán. Running Time: 144 minutes. Rating: Rated R.

Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.