i After getting his ﬁngers ! burnt with Bonﬁre Of The Vanities, Brian De Palma needed a Hollywood hit, and has found it with Carlito’s Way. He talked to Alan Morrison.
milestone in violence and bad language.’ ‘A beautiful. at times poetic exercise in excess.‘ ‘Absurdly brutalised.‘ Back in 1983. the critics certainly went to work on Brian De Palma‘s Stat-face. a vicious sex ’n‘ drugs ‘n‘ bullets depiction of the rise and fall of a Cuban gangster. played by Al Pacino. Now. the same director and star have teamed up for C'ar/t'to's Why. a movie set again in a Hispanic gangland. but — a decade on — there's a marked difference in tone. perhaps even a mellowing.
‘lt‘s what’s dictated by the material.’ argues the 49-year-old De Palma. ‘Scatj/acc vas about violence. It was about a guy who climbed his way to the top in the most brutal fashion. and didn't care who he killed or manipulated in order to get to the top of the pile. destroying all his relationships until there's only ten pounds of cocaine on his table. (‘ar/ito's Way is about a guy who‘s trying to avoid that: he's been tojail. he knows what happens to these guys. he’s basically trying to not pick up the gun. When he goes over the edge and hits some guy on the head. he knows that guy‘s got to go down. And by not killing him, he seals his own fate.‘
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, squeezes a fair amount of ‘ up' sensitivity from Carlito Brigante, an old-style drug-runner out of prison after live years and unable to come to terms with the new faces and new codes of honour that now exist in Spanish Harlem. The film is also unusual in that it is a period piece. set in the mid—70s of Edwin 'l‘orres‘s twin source novels ('ar/t'to's Way and After Hours. Nevertheless. it has soared to the top of the US box office charts. providing De Palma with his ﬁrst solid hit since 1987‘s The Untota'ltablcs.
‘Of course you want to make a successful movie every once in a while or you‘re going to wind up not making movies any more.” he shrugs. 'You look for certain genre types and you try to hit a broader audience. I’ve always made movies that I felt people wanted to go and see . . . even though sometimes nobody showed up. Just don’t ever expect to get understanding from the media while you're making movies. You’re measured against the fashion of the times: are you in stride or out of stride? There’s no real insight into the work as it stands, outside the time tunnel it’s measured against.’
12 The List 17 December 1993-— IR January l‘)‘)4