Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Scarface - 1983

Brian De Palma's 1983 gangster epic Scarface, a remake of Howard Hawks 1932 film of the same name, ends with a lingering shot focusing on a revolving statute which declare's "The World is Yours," hammering home the films satirical take on the American Dream. From when he arrives in Miami from Cuba at the start film, until the climatic shootout in his mansion, Tony Montana is obsessed with becoming as rich and powerful as he possibly can, no matter the cost. 

Tony Montana's excessive, over the top, and garish lifestyle, from the aforementioned statue, to the zebra print seats in his bright yellow car, from his ginormous mansion to the mountain of cocaine on his desk and the ridiculous weapon he uses in the final shoot out, is almost like the nightmarish, dark and twisted cousin of the yuppies and their success. It is over done and silly and taken to the extreme but it is like a carnival mirror vision of the upper class in the 80s, distorted but still based in truth.

It also serves as a critique of the American dream, suggesting that the wealth and success can only be achieved by selling your soul, obviously very few people go down the route of the criminal life like Tony Montana chooses too, but from the way Wall Street is often portrayed, especially with characters like Gordon Gekko, it seems as though, from the general perception, that you have to sacrifice your morals and beliefs in order to achieve wealth, not too similar too how Tony Montana reaches the top.

While the extremely graphic violence of the film does in a way affect the movie, because for some people it pulls them out of the experience, but it seems to fit the over the top satire that the film is aiming for in it's parody of the excess of the 1980s and the greed of the era. 

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