Gangsta Rapping

Going straight can be hard for a hood with a sense of honor

As we are told more than once, Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino) gained his education almost entirely on the streets of Spanish Harlem. That is too bad. If he had spent more time at home watching the old Late Show, he would have known from the early gangster movies (especially James Cagney's) that there comes a moment in any criminal career when it becomes impossible to go straight, no matter how much you want to. It's an image problem with tragic dimensions.

Brian De Palma has, of course, seen Angels with Dirty Faces and The Roaring Twenties. No director knows the traditions...

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