Al plays a Cuban refugee in America, fresh off the boat. He’s hardened from the outset but his resolve solidifies even more when he equates the US political situation with his own. To escape it he pursues the American Dream, violently working his way up the ladder of excess, except the ladder in his case is more of a mountain that’s made from cocaine and cash that's lit from above by the neon pink and blue colours of 80s vice.
There are some old school De Palma moments throughout but mostly he plays things straight, allowing the story and the actors to be the main focus. It’s a long film but it needed to be.