Scarface, Directed by Brian De Palma
Tony Montana has taken just so much shit his whole life. He’s been oppressed and repressed and mocked and called a spic and turned on by his own country (Cuba) that he’s just not going to take any shit anymore. He’ll shoot someone just for pissing him off, which is almost admirable, or at the very least understandable. I’m not advocating violence; all I’m saying is that we all have our limits and if someone treated me the way Tony Montana had been treated his whole life – if they spit on me, and degraded me, and mocked me and doubted any power I might have, I might want to prove them wrong.
Of course, it’s a movie, and we know it well; Scarface with Al Pacino as the Cuban immigrant turned drug lord with his mountains of coke and his beautiful but, basically dead, wife, Elvira, living what he believes is the American dream.
Elvira, Tony’s wife, played perfectly by Michelle Pfieffer, is beautiful and so cool she’s ice cold, whose only job is to be an ornament, and who comes from somewhere in Baltimore, we’re told, and whose only goal, it seems, is to just be taken care of by all these rich and violent thugs. She doesn’t seem phased by all the guns and underworld thugs that hang around the house, but then, her nose is so packed full of coke that this is not really a surprise. Most of the time, she’s got this false cocaine-calm aloofness that lends itself to comparisons with a mannequin.
Her power and her trump is that ultimately, we get the sense that it’s a role she’s chosen – not one that was ever put upon her. That it’s all within her control. Men like Tony Montana are brought to their knees by her cool beauty and icy aloofness. She’s like coke they can’t buy or trade or snort or get enough of, but surely as powerful . But ultimately, she’s just some middle-class chick form Baltimore who was probably really bored and moved to Miami for some excitement. She’s a bitch. As Tony says to her, “You got a look like you haven’t been fucked in a year.” And it’s true. Maybe she knows her power is in the withholding, but this can only last for so long; a tease works because ultimately, there has to be something at the end of it. If it’s all attitude and cock tease, after a while, that gets boring and the furthest thing from sexy. Something’s gotta give.
Tony Montana wants, as he says, “what’s coming to me,” which is “the world and everything in it.” Never satisfied, never settled, the immigrant with the chip on the shoulder who sees Miami as “ a great big pussy just waiting to be fucked,” and he’s the guy to do it. I love that he sees himself so well endowed; it shows a moxie and an appealing verve that today’s sensitive men lack (or more accurately, feel they must keep under wraps.) Tony’s energy is violent, sexual, intense; he’s all about conquest and triumph and most of all, proving himself. A guy who knows that in “this country, you gotta get the money first” That money is power and all flows from that....