Although the intellectual value of Twitter discourse is typically dubious at best, I recently had an interesting discussion with a colleague about the merits of Brian De Palma as a director. Although he's held in high regard by many critics, I've never found him to be a particularly great filmmaker, and argued that at best he's a visual stylist who can make material look good but can't otherwise improve upon the scripts he's given. That said, I'm a big fan of Carrie, Scarface, The Untouchables, Casualties of War, and Mission: Impossible, precisely (if not exclusively) because of his ability to create operatic, invigorating set pieces.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment released Carlito's Way on Blu-ray May 18, and that's a film I've also always really, really enjoyed, thanks in no small part to David Koepp's screenplay and Sean Penn's amazing performance as David Kleinfeld. But 17 years after its release, with dozens upon dozens of crime movies (not to mention Al Pacino performances) infiltrating memories and opinions about its impact and influence, is De Palma's return to Scarface territory still satisfying?