Carlito's Way 4K Ultra HD BD review

Carlito's Way, Universal, Ultra HD Blu-ray & All-Region BD, £20

Movie: When a legal technicality releases gangster Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino) from a 30-year jail sentence after just five years, he vows to leave his old life behind. Yet this proves easier said than done, largely thanks to the coked-up antics of his lawyer (Sean Penn) and new and old acquaintances who refuse to believe he's 'gone straight.'

A strong supporting cast includes Penelope Ann Miller as Carlito’s ex-girlfriend Gail, Luis Guzman as his right-hand man, and John Leguizamo in a small but brilliant turn as ‘Benny Blanco from the Bronx.’ But this is Pacino’s film from start to finish, as he delivers a nuanced and memorable performance.

Carlito's Way also director Brian De Palma’s last great film, eschewing the over-the-top histrionics of Scarface for something altogether more stylish. Shot composition and camera movement is second- to-none, with a tense pool-hall standoff and a protracted chase sequence both masterclasses in building suspense. The result is a superbly orchestrated crime drama.
Movie rating: 5/5

Picture: Universal has treated Carlito's Way to a 4K scan of the 35mm negative, and delivered a sharp image that retains a pleasing layer of grain and is free of any compression artefacts. The 2.35:1 picture showcases the meticulous production design and costumes, and the addition HDR10 (and HDR10+) is a major boost, giving colours more depth and contrast greater impact.

This all comes together perfectly when Carlito stands in a nighttime rainstorm to watch Gail at dance practice. The street is washed in a blue light, the blacks are deep, and the falling rain perfectly highlighted. It’s all gorgeously cinematic.
Picture rating: 4.5/5


Audio: A newly minted DTS:X mix brings a real sense of space, allowing street scenes to burst into life with hustle and bustle, while interiors like the pool hall feel claustrophobic. Dialogue is clear, with Pacino’s narration particularly well rendered, right down to the lisp of his Puerto Rican accent. Gunfire during the final shoot-out is more dynamic, but bass is used sparingly, such as when thunder rolls overhead. The soundtrack is full of 1970s dance classics that are conveyed with a pleasing energy, while Patrick Doyle’s beautifully mournful score is given added width across the front soundstage.
Audio rating: 4.5/5

Extras: Extras include the deleted scenes, 30-minute 'Making of...' documentary and short interview with De Palma of Carlito's Way's previous Blu-ray. New, but not particularly exciting, are an original promo featurette and the film's theatrical trailer.
Extras rating: 3.5/5


We say: Brian De Palma's superb crime drama receives a welcome and impressive 4K BD outing.