In the spring of 1980, the Mariel boatlift brought thousands of Cuban refugees to the sun-washed avenues of Miami in search of the American dream. From acclaimed director Brian DePalma, Scarface is the rags-to-riches story of Tony Montana (Al Pacino), who finds wealth, power and passion beyond his wildest dreams... at a price he never imagined. Tony Montana's meteoric rise, lavish life and soul-destroying fall anchor an epic film that inspired a worldwide following. Pacino is at his most memorable as Montana, blasting his way to the top of Miami's drug underworld in a bravura performance.
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Scarface is told in three acts that detail Montanas ascension into paradise, his stay in the heavens (mostly Miami), and his eventual descent from grace. At a whopping 170 minutes, the film never outstays its welcome because each act is told at a steady pace on its own. The opening act is deliberate so that the young Cubans future may feel even more uncertain. The middle act shows Montana reveling in his new way of life and taking the actions that could eventually lead to his downfall. The final act reaches moments of such absurdity it can only be purposeful. In an over-the-top scene clearly saved for the finale, Montana sniffs cocaine from a man-made mountain of the product on his desk. Because he lives a life of limitless excess, his character would naturally be taken into the stratosphere of the inane towards the climax. When you are this insane, the only place to go is up. Or down.