In 1983 when Brian DePalma chose to remake Howard Hawks’ 1932 game-changing gangster film “Scarface,” the world was a completely different place. There was no home video and the 51 year-old version starring Paul Muni had not achieved mythical status.
Today, thirty-one years have passed since Al Pacino’s awesome accent asked America to “say hello to my little friend,” but the years matter little. DePalma’s film did achieve mythical status and feels as big, bold, and beautiful on this day as it did during the Reagan-era. Moreover, DePalma’s psychotic ballet of cocaine-fueled violence and mayhem still feels fresh, edgy, audacious, and just plain old g**damned cool.
Using Oliver Stone’s gonzo screenplay, DePalma knew he could make us forget all about Muni’s masterpiece. And he did exactly that through the use of a celluloid canvas covered in bright Miami pastels, bloody chainsaws, and an Al Pacino still capable of creating larger-than-life characters that didn’t reek of ham.
Universal intends to set the new version in Los Angeles and this time will tell the story of a Mexican immigrant who goes about grabbing hold of the American dream in his own way.
Los Angeles? Man alive, isn’t every movie is filmed in Los Angeles?
And I am already bracing myself for the immigration politics sure emanate from this bad idea.
Say what you want about Oliver Stone, he at least had the courage to use as his political backdrop Jimmy Carter being suckered by Fidel Castro into accepting the dregs of Cuban society during the infamous Mariel Boatlift.
The remake already feels tired … in a “Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power” kind of way.