BRIAN DE PALMA FEATURE
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“Eight bail top pocket“: Al Pacino seeks redemption in Carlito‘s Way
The title was never mentioned and he could be talking about something else entirely. but it’s hard not to see De Palma‘s words referring in
some way to his disastrous I990 adaptation of
: Tom Wolfe‘s lion/ire ()f The Vanities. As a ; satire on New York‘s social spectrum in the late ' 80s. Wolfe's novel was unrivalled. but De Palma‘s film fell flat on virtually every level. For the director. still disgruntled by the lukewarm reception for his much undervalued Vietnam movie Casualties ()f ll’ar. it was a tough body blow. And so he retreated behind the familiar barriers of the style-heavy genre piece for which he is best known. Raising Cain was one of his most idiosyncratic works. a convoluted thriller with farcical touches for which the adjective 'De Palmaesque‘ could well have been coined. Very much one of a kind. it
still inhabits an area distinct to the director. filled with previous titles like liar/0v Daub/c. Sisters. Dressed 72) Kill and l’lia/imm (iii/ire Paradise. liven in his ‘other' movies —~ horror pieces like ('arrii' and The Fury or a more traditional gangster movie like The UHI()ll(‘/i(l/7/(’.S‘ — there are certain moments when it's obvious that there could only be one man in the director‘s chair. Long. unedited steadicam shots. fluid camera movements. perfectly executed set pieces or. better still. a combination of all three — that De Palma feeling. (‘ritics may carp that he pilfers his best ideas from other people (Hitchcock in particular). but there‘s no denying the fact that he then customises them for his own ends. That l’otwnkin-like shoot-out on the steps of Grand Central Station in The [,rlli!()ll(‘/l(li7/(’.\ may delight the train-spotting film buffs in the audience. but
it also delivers a tight. exciting and — above all — cinematic flourish to the movie‘s climax. With the reappearance of this location for a key scene in (‘arlim's Way — but with the marble staircase brought forward in time to a metallic escalator — you could be forgiven that here is a man obsessed with railway stations.
‘Yeah.’ he concurs. ‘mainly because they're really large architectural spaces. and in America we don’t have huge buildings that have been around for centuries like you have over here. In this movie. we planned to shoot the scene at an escalator in the World Trade Centre. but it was blown tip. so we had to find another staircase very quickly. And I don't like the look of airplane terminals — they're very modern and not too romantic.’
And. of course. romance is no bad thing to have around when you're blowing away the odd gangster or four. T.)
Carlim's Way opens in Scotland on Friday 7 January.
THE FILMS 0F BRIAN DE PALMA
The Wedding Party (1963) Murder A La Mod (1967) Greetings (1968)
iii, Morn! (1969)
Get To Know Your Rabbit (1970) Sisters (1973)
Phantom Of The Paradise (1974) Obsession (1976)
The Fury (1978)
Home Movies (1979)
Dressed To Kill (1980)
Blow Out (1981)
Body Double (1984)
Wise Boys (1986)
The Untouchables (1987) Casualties Of War (1989) Bonfire (it The Vanities (1990) Raising Cain (1992)
Carlito’s Way (1993)
The Untouchables (1987): DePatma's “traditional gangster movie".
of. ’ v . 3 Sean Penn and Michael J. For In
DePalnia's Casualties at War (1989) .
The List l7 December t993—l3 January NW 13