🎥🍣Movie Sushi — Carlito’s Way

AdGridley
6 min readJan 14

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New York City 1975.

Carlito assures the court he’s completely rehabilitated, reinvigorated, reassimilated, and finally gonna be relocated. He has plans. Friend, Clyde Bassie left prison, went to the Bahamas and started a successful car rental place. Carlito can buy in any time he gets $75,000. Carlito’s lawyer, Dave Kleinfeld, laughs. Carlito says car rental guys don’t get killed that much.

Old friend, Pachanga, says it’s like Death Valley in the Barrio. The kids don’t respect human life. They’ll shotgun you just to see you fly up in the air. Laline’s doing thirty years in Attica. Rolando Riva wants a word. Carlito could’ve given him up but he didn’t. Carlito doesn’t expect anything in return. He’s retired.

Little cousin, Guajiro, shows Carlito an envelope containing $30,000. He wants Carlito to come to the pickup, they’ll be terrified. Quisqueya wants to count the cash and wants the music turned up. Carlito’s showing the others a trick shot that took six months to master.

Carlito soon has everyone arranged, one man with his face inches from the twelve-ball. Carlito senses trouble and hits the cue ball right at the man’s face. Quisqueya says Guajiro’s boss is dead, slamming the fridge door on Guajiro’s hand. Carlito hits someone with his cue and disarms him. Guajiro’s throat is slit. Carlito starts shooting and Quisqueya’s killed.

Carlito hides in the bathroom. He’s out of ammunition, but pretends he’s not. He then finds Guajiro’s body and makes the sign of the cross. He takes the $30,000 and leaves.

Carlito tells Kleinfeld he’s gonna put $25,000 of his own money in to the nightclub. As soon as he makes his $75,000, he’s gone. Carlito deduces Saso owes about $100,000 in gambling debts. Carlito will come in for half Saso’s end. Either way, if he doesn’t pay, Saso will end up in the trunk of a car somewhere. Carlito hires Pachanga.

A waiter, Rudy, tells Carlito the guy in the red suit won’t pay. The man recognises Carlito and eagerly apologises. He’s Benny Blanco from the Bronx. Carlito says Saso owes Benny, not him. Carlito was the JP Morgan of the heroin business with ninety, a hundred guys on the street. Carlito leaves.

Carlito greets ex-girlfriend, Gail. She’s pleased to see him and discusses her career, then asks what it’s like in prison. He says he did a lot of push-ups and wasted time. Carlito cut it clean with her so he could remain focussed inside. He apologises for breaking her heart.

Kleinfeld visits connected client, Tony Taglialucci, on Riker’s Island. Tony gave Kleinfeld a million dollars to make a payoff and nothing happened. As a result, Kleinfeld must get Tony out of prison. A paid-off prison guard will get Tony in the East River, then Kleinfeld will collect him with his boat.

Laline’s in Carlito’s office in a wheelchair taking cocaine. He got shot in the back. Carlito says he’s retired. Laline’s in with some new people. Carlito puts a knife under Laline’s throat and reveals the wire he’s wearing.

Carlito threatens to throw Laline in the river. Pachanga appears and immediately reaches for his gun. Laline actively wants to be killed. He must bring nappies everywhere. Carlito discovers Norwalk sent him, grabbing Laline by the hair.

Benny arrives with two men at Carlito’s table wanting Steffie. Steffie’s having sex with Kleinfeld in the bathroom and Rudy tells Carlito. Carlito couldn’t care less. Benny’s getting still angrier the other side of the club.

Steffie’s impressed with Kleinfeld on all sorts of levels. Benny will send over a bottle of champagne in exchange for Steffie. Carlito says Steffie’s with Kleinfeld and rejects Benny’s champagne. Benny comes over mob-handed and asks if there’s a misunderstanding.

Carlito calls Benny a punk and suggests he snatch a chain. Benny lunges at Steffie and Kleinfeld puts a gun to Benny’s face. Benny’s men are held back.

Carlito says if Benny shows at the club again, he dies. Benny says Carlito’s in the history books. If Benny sees Carlito again, he’ll kill him. Carlito sends Benny down the stairs. He keeps in mind the $75,000 he needs to escape.

Pouring himself a drink, Kleinfeld wants help springing Tony T from Rikers. Tony’s gonna swim to a buoy and Kleinfeld and Carlito will put Tony onto Kleinfeld’s boat. Carlito reluctantly agrees to do it.

Carlito watches Gail dancing with a stranger. Kleinfeld gets furious. Kleinfeld’s generous, but he has that bad drinker face. He racially abuses the stranger and keeps yelling insults. The man then yells back and Carlito takes Kleinfeld aside. Kleinfeld says he was only fooling around. He then asks if Carlito gets seasick on boats. Gail asks where they’re going.

Kleinfeld asks what’s wrong. Carlito says Kleinfeld’s acting like an idiot. Gail asks again and Carlito puts his head in his hands. She storms off and Carlito threatens to kill Kleinfeld.

Later, Gail asks about the boat thing. Carlito’s helping Kleinfeld out. Gail calls Kleinfeld a coke head. Carlito will end up killed or incarcerated again. She says everything Carlito learned in the neighbourhood will only get him killed. He smashes a mirror with his fist. Kleinfeld’s Carlito’s friend. He owes Kleinfeld.

Come the night, Kleinfeld’s coked out of his mind. They’ll take the La Guardia side through the Sound. Frankie should steer, then Carlito should help Kleinfeld fish Tony out. Carlito yells that he has him and brings him towards the boat. Kleinfeld takes over and starts hitting Tony in the head with a crowbar, blood soon gushing. Then, Kleinfeld kills Frank. Carlito’s filled with dread, helping Kleinfeld swing Frank overboard.

Kleinfeld will give Carlito another $10,000. Carlito asks if Kleinfeld stole the million dollars. Kleinfeld grins. Carlito says Kleinfeld’s a gangster now. You can’t learn about it in school and you can’t have a late start.

Next day, Kleinfeld’s stabbed three times in the chest. Carlito tells Gail she was right about Kleinfeld. He discovers she’s considering an abortion. Then, several cars arrive. Norwalk wants to see him.

Kleinfeld’s wanted for money laundering, jury tampering and bribery. Norwalk plays Carlito a tape. Kleinfeld’s saying he discovered Carlito was back with Rolando Rivas dealing cocaine. Kleinfeld would testify to it.

Norwalk wants Carlito’s help to put Kleinfeld away for a long time. Tony T’s body and his son’s body popped up in the East River. Tony T’s other son, Vincent, has spread the word Kleinfeld set up the prison break, then killed his father and his brother. Carlito’s advised to testify against Kleinfeld for first-degree murder. He’ll receive immunity and two airline tickets to the Bahamas.

Carlito gives Gail tickets for the overnight train to Miami. From there, they’ll fly to Nassau. He has $70,000. He’ll go to the club, get the money and meet her at Grand Central.

Carlito’s angling like crazy. Norwalk will blow over. But, Carlito must look in Kleinfeld’s eyes to know for sure. Carlito’s frisked first. He scares the hell out of Kleinfeld. Carlito finds Kleinfeld’s revolver.

He points the gun at Kleinfeld, who insults Carlito’s self-righteous code of the street, reminding Carlito of every time he bailed him out. Carlito advises Kleinfeld to keep the gun on the table, for quicker access. Vincent, dressed as a policeman, goes in Kleinfeld’s room straight after Carlito’s left. Kleinfeld reaches for his gun, but it’s empty. Outside, Carlito discards the bullets.

Carlito tells Pachanga he should collect Gail and drive her to Grand Central for the 11:30pm train. Made guy, Pete Amadesso, hasn’t seen Carlito in fifteen years. They still don’t know for sure if Carlito was on the boat.

Carlito discovers the safe is empty. He fetches a gun and interrogates Saso. The money’s in the box under the register. Pete introduces Vincent, Tony Taglialucci’s son. Carlito offers his condolences.

Vincent heard Carlito’s lawyer had an accident. Carlito hasn’t seen him lately. Carlito excuses himself. A furious Vincent knows Carlito’s lying. When Carlito disappears, Vincent finds Carlito’s crawled through a hole in the floor.

Carlito boards a train at 125th Street. The Italians also get on. Carlito frantically runs. He discreetly shows his gun. The Italians have their hands menacingly hidden.

Carlito briefly loses the Italians. Joe pauses to rest, clutching his heart. Carlito’s laying down on an escalator. Joe shoots at him. Carlito hits Joe and Vincent, then Pete. Sonny jumps across, but Carlito shoots him point blank three times.

On the platform, Gail’s jumping for joy. Police kill Vincent. Carlito reassures Gail it’s gonna be OK, but Benny appears. Benny shoots Carlito three times in the stomach. Pachanga says no hard feelings. Then, Benny shoots Pachanga as well.

A dying Carlito gives Gail the cash. She and the baby should take it and get out. Soon, Carlito’s on a gurney watching the ceiling lights go by. Carlito notices the colourful paradise poster. He hopes Gail uses the money to get out. She dances on the beach with a band close by.

Starring Al Pacino. Sean Penn. Penelope Ann Miller. Rated 18. Dir Brian De Palma. Released in the UK 1993. Runtime 2hrs 24mins

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Ad teaches & gives speeches on his MH struggle + recovery at institutions right across the world. (Movie Sushi pieces contain spoilers)