No one talks about Howard Hawks’ Scarface anymore. Thanks to Brian De Palma’s remake in 1983, that film seems to have been swallowed up into a sea of forgotten gangster flicks. That’s a pity because it’s a solid film. I fear that the same fate awaits this newest incarnation of the story.
That’s right, Scarface will be born anew, and Straight Outta Compton scribe Jonathan Herman will be putting words into a new version of… huh, is it going to be Tony Montana? This is where I get interested because De Palma’s remake, whether you like it or not, is a good example of how to approach a remake. Take the basic shell of the story and fill it with new ideas, statements, characters and worlds. The simple story of an immigrant gangster’s rise to power allows for a plethora of different interpretations, and I hope Herman and director Pablo Larrain will color the vaguer parts with their own brand of crayons.
With De Palma’s Scarface becoming as ubiquitous in pop culture as Starbucks are in cities everywhere, it’s going to be an uphill battle to make this one stand out. I’m hoping that the film breaks from the normal tone of most crime films and takes on the influence of video game culture that itself was directly inspired by Scarface. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City might as well be a fan-made Scarface game. I think more crime and gangster films could benefit from this, much like the original Crank did. Whatever they do, they need to think way outside the box.
Is this movie another casualty of your remake fatigue, Chewers? Pitch us your ideas for a Scarface remake in the comments and on the forums. If it was me, I’d go full crazy and make the immigrant gangster an actual alien whose favorite movie is Scarface. Or just make him Alien from Spring Breakers.