A very good film about Eliot Ness Vs. Al Capone
- The Untouchables review by Philip in Paradiso
This is a very good crime movie starring Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness, Sean Connery as Jim Malone (the police officer who assists him), and Robert De Niro as Al Capone. It is set in 1930s Chicago, when Prohibition had created limitless opportunities for organised crime. In the film, Eliot Ness makes it his mission to take down Al Capone, whose crime syndicate has managed to infiltrate and corrupt almost every level of society and its institutions, in the city, including the police force, the judiciary and the mayor's office.
The film is fast-paced: rather than a cerebral detective story, it soon develops into an action film. De Niro, as Al Capone, is remarkable: a mixture of toxic charm and bloodthirsty ruthlessness, who arouses fear in all those around him. There are, however, some flaws in the movie. Some are minor ones, such as Sean Connery's strong Scottish accent (he is supposed to be Irish American). Besides, the story is not accurate from a historical point of view: Brian De Palma created a work of fiction loosely inspired by the historical events of 1930s Chicago. Also, the plot is somehow predictable and the characters are simplistically portrayed, in the main: Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness is one-dimensional in the extreme. The movie lacks depth and subtlety in many respects.
Having said all this, as a crime movie and a period film, it works very well. Two scenes are particularly memorable: the fight on the Canadian-US border between gangsters and law-enforcement officers, and the scene in the city's main railway station. The latter, filmed in slow motion, is simply breath-taking: it is a classic in and of itself. In that scene, the director shows his talent, his experience and his know-how - his genius, in fact. If only for that scene, which represents the climax of the story in many respects, the movie is very much worth seeing.
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Great period gangster Film
- The Untouchables review by GI
Although very loosely based on real events this is a gangster film entirely rooted in the cinematic genre. It's bright almost comic book look, interspersed with fast, bloody action makes it highly watchable and very entertaining. When you combine the almost iconic action set pieces with the pounding score composed by Ennio Morricone and add the great performances you have a mix that makes for great, popular cinema. Kevin Costner, then a relatively unknown actor, plays Elliot Ness, a US Treasury agent sent to Chicago to bring down prohibition kingpin Al Capone (Robert De Niro having the time of his life). Finding that the police are riddled with corruption Ness turns to humble but honest beat cop Malone (Sean Connery, with an Irish accent that slips all over the place but he's riveting when on screen and won an Oscar), and with an accountant (Charles Martin Smith) and a tough rookie (Andy Garcia) the four of them take on the ruthless gangster. There are two stand out action set pieces, one a gun battle on a river bridge, which mixes humour with bloody violence and the second a slow burning, slow motion fight in Chicago's Grand Central Station taking place on the main stairs. It's director Brian De Palma's homage to Battleship Potemkin (1925) even adding some sailors who get caught in the crossfire. It's one of those scenes that makes you love cinema. This is a period gangster film that has sets recreating the old classic gangster films of the 30s with added colour and it's a real treat. A moral tale where law and order is blurred with right and wrong. If you've never seen this then you really must and if its a favourite then time to watch again.
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