Monday, May 01, 2006
Make way for the bad guy...Visceral
I dont know if it happens to others, but sometimes I keep thinking about watching a movie without getting down to it. I dont know if it is my dastardly laziness at work again. My previous post was about one such movie..and I gave a lot of thought before I got down to writing this one..in fear of making this blog too one dimesional..but then what the hell..the experience warrants it!!
It also always happens (again borne out by my previous post) that i eventually catch the movie..although purely by chance and sometimes in the wierdest of places. The Untouchables was one such movie. I finally watched it in an SBBJ guest house TV in Bikaner - star movies had chosen that very day to air the movie..and I happened to switch to the channel at the right time.
When I went home this weekend I found out, much to my joy, from a TV guide that Scarface was scheduled to be the 11:25 PM Sunday movie. I made a vague mental note of this. Hyderabad is freakishly hot these days, and sure as hell..I was there with a tall glass of a cool drink on the couch at the right time. Till that moment my only introduction to Scarface had been the poster that hands above Joey Tribbiani's bed. I had garnered that the movie featured Al Pacino and being a die hard fan I had made up my mind to watch it. I had therefore no inkling as to what I should expect.
What came hit me in the stomach like a pit bull raging at red. The experience was truly VISCERAL!! (Warning : Possible spoilers ahead!!)
Al Pacino plays a political refugee from Cuba. He is deported to America and reaches Miami with a insatiable need to live the American dream. Sure enough he finds himself in the Drug Traffickin business pretty soon. His Rise is fast and bloody, as his is Fall. The story itself has nothing much to offer, but it is the way it is told that makes this movie and experience..and of course Al Pacino.
There are several things about the movie that distinguish it from the usual gangster flick. One is the light. There lights everywhere...bright Miami sunlight, Neon lights, Disco lights...if there is blood, and there a good amount of that, there are no dark shadows to camouflage it.
Another is the fact that the director does not canvass with the audience to symapthise with his chief charecter.
Pacino plays Tony Montana, and he is no Michael Corleone. There is no good side/ bad side distinction made in the movie. With Tony what you see is what you get. He see s his friend Angel getting hacked to peices by a chainsaw in front of his eyes without making a move to save him. And it is made quite clear that he will go to any lengths to get what he wants. He is brutally ferocious...a side of him that is brought out brilliantly by Pacino ...at points of the film you feel like you are looking at a monster of the scale of Godzilla... and it is his unbridled ferocity that gets him to the top of the Drug World with speed.
Tony is furiously greedy, he is insanely protective of his sister, to the extent that he kills his best friend Manolo, when he learns that he is married to her(incestous feelings are more than hinted at in the movie), he treats the woman he woo s like dirt after he marries her...the list is long. This is no fallen angel, you realise while watching the movie, this guy is for real. Tony proclaims it proudly himself in one scene, when he walks out of a posh restaurant drunk and stoned and barely able to move - screaming "make way for the bad guy". He is not the suave and polished Mafia boss...I had grown so used to..he reminds you more of mangy rabid monster.
Tony's fall from the top is as sudden and brutal as his ascent. He is eventually consumed by his greed for wealth and the drug that is the source of it. The cocaine, which he heaps (literally!!!) on his table and uses a magazine (not shiny little blade) to separate a portion to sniff...fills him with a sense of power he does not possess. Throughout the movie Montana appears dwarfed by everything around him, and one day it just blows up.He simply takes on more than he can handle - there are no justifications made for this.
He is as ferocious as ever in the Final scene, when an army of gunmen hunt him down. The final scene showing Montana lying dead in pool, and a globe with the letters " The World is Yours" blazing across it has a certain poignancy attached to it.
Pacino plays a monster in the movie, and he pulls it off in style. I have never witnessed anything anywhere close to this before, and would not have believed it possible if it werent for that TV guide. You need to watch it to understand what I am talking about.
Posted by Blackbird at Monday, May 01, 2006