Scarface must have been one of my true introductions into the world of gangster movies and also into the world of Al Pacino films. The sheer non-apologetic brutality of Scarface highlights it as one of the most important gangster films of all time, well at least for me. One key thing I find crucial as to what makes Scarface the masterpiece that it is, is how it shows that yes being a gangster is cool. However, it also shows the utter violence, deceit, and pain that is associated with that lifestyle, and that there is ultimately no winning.
Al Pacino executed an absolutely exceptional performance as the character of Tony Montana, so much so that whenever I see Al Pacino in other roles I can’t help but think of Scarface. As such, it would be fair to say that Tony Montana is Al Pacino’s best role? Tony Montana is one of the most interesting characters in cinema, we see a man willing to kill and destroy anyone and anything in order to succeed. A character born of nothing, left only to gain everything and with nothing to lose. In Tony Montana’s eyes, he is the hero of his own story, willing to overcome anything in order to succeed, and only in death will he accept defeat. His journey is that of a dark one, filled with greed, blood, and corruption. As such, Scarface is intertwined with themes of morality and demonstrates the repercussions of an excessive lifestyle. We see a man who is a control freak, a man who at all costs must have more and more, thus foreshadowing his downfall. One thing to note is that Tony Montana’s personality never technically changes, he simply becomes a more authentic version of himself. Even as a man who began with nothing he acted as if he had everything, or atleast will eventually have everything. His determination to succeed using violence, manipulation, and aggression is unwavering and accurately emphasises his God-like persona he strictly embodies.
The foreshadowing nature of Tony Montana’s downfall can be explored through his obsession with materialism, his romance with greed, and his dependency on fear to gain status and ‘worth’. Ultimately, none of these things last, and as such we have a character driven by meaningless possessions, foreshadowing his finite existence. We are presented with a man who at times we think surely can’t die, a God almost. De Palma accurately explores the human condition within Scarface, demonstrating the implications of an excessive lifestyle and our inherent desire for more. It becomes clear to see through Tony Montana that one man cannot bare the weight of the world, even if it is of his choosing, and that ultimately through the fog of the God complex built around him, he remains a mere man.