I just tried to get through Scarface.

I made it to about 1:40 before checking to see how much film was left: another hour.

Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by modern films but this one is really not doing it for me. I played Vice City and rather enjoyed the setting. Seeing things I recognise from the game in the original film was rather fun but that’s about as far as the parallels go.

The Wikipedia article for it states:

The initial critical response to Scarface was mixed, with criticism over excessive violence and graphic language.

My only criticism of the violence so far has been how comically wacky it is. People get “blown away” by small arms fire in a hilariously pathetic and immersion-shattering way. Everyone seems to be packing MAC-10s or incredibly puny Berettas. Ah, the 1980s – when no one knew what guns sounded like and people getting shot bled a little ketchup.

Having taken a look on IMFDB it might be worth watching the rest of the film for the action but the amount of tiresome nattering is excruciating.

To me there’s two reasons for dialogue: to advance the plot or to immerse the viewer in the setting. I personally hate it when each and every line seems to be cut to the bone in order to save time. Dialogue shouldn’t feel like unnatural exposition and I get rather annoyed when I notice that something was just said purely to provide the viewer with a bit of information. If the characters all already know something then don’t have them say it out loud just for our convenience!

The other kind of dialogue is to colour in the setting. It doesn’t have to be important it’s just there to make the world feel alive. Film has the advantage over theatre in that it can show us things but the way a character tells a story, or chats with a friend, or orders a drink all help make the setting seem plausible.

So far most of the dialogue has been needless guff. At other times I find myself feeling like a few pages fell out of the script resulting in me playing catch-up. Time seems to pass at random intervals. The whole thing feels like its in desperate need of an editor. Or a director.

I’d heard such positive things about it though. I find myself wondering if it’s just me being picky. Back in the 1990s it was probably amazing but these days video content can be produced by anyone. I expect a certain standard from YouTube videos, for example. With that much content floating around the general standard seems to slowly rise. I’ve seen student films with more realistic gunplay, for example.

Perhaps I’ll finish it but it might be a stretch.

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