By: The Dweeb
The Untouchables when it first came out was regarded as a fairly good movie, and even 17 years later, it still holds up as one of the better films to come out of the 80’s. Loosely based on the real Elliot Ness and his fight against Chicago crime boss Al Capone, DePalma spins a good yarn at what could have happened all those years ago. Untouchables has become one of those late night film staples you see on TV every once in a while. Even if I flip past it in the middle of the movie, I can’t help but stop and watch at least for a few moments.
Why? It really just boils down to that this flick is very entertaining. It has the right amount of humor mixed in with some drama and action, and the characters are all very well written and portrayed by some great actors. Who can forget the famous Capone baseball bat dinner scene, something you’d least expect from a fairly tame film in the violence department. But the gore does show itself every once in a while. DePalma maybe is trying to demystify the romantic notion of the gangster life in Chicago perhaps?
This film is considered one of Kevin Costner’s (and to a lesser extent De Niro’s as well) finest roles, and it is also one of his earliest. His performance usually is very evenhanded, but at times you see him burst out in emotion, something I haven’t seen in a while from some of his later films. This is one of his more memorable roles, and yet it was so early in his career. He shows his potential for some great acting, what happened?
I think what made this movie really tick is the interaction between Costner’s Elliot Ness and his Policeman mentor Malone, played by Sean Connery. With a convincing Irish accent, Malone helps Ness take Capone head on providing his invaluable advice. "You wanna know how you do it? Here’s how, they pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send on of his to the morgue! That’s the Chicago way , and that’s how you get Capone!"
Speaking of Capone, who else could play him but the legendary Godfather of film himself, Robert Dinero. He turns in another excellent performance, showing us that as mob boss, he isn’t much of a nice guy. He’s arrogant, short tempered and ruthless when it comes to someone messing up the works. He almost is a parody of his other mob character Vito Corleone, of The Godfather series. He is good in here no doubt, but viewing this from today’s perspective with his recent mob comedy Analyze This, I just can’t help but think of him in that role. Still, he is enjoyable to watch as he slowly unravels each time he gets a piece of bad news.
Take note that this is the second time Untouchables has been released by Paramount. The first version I have not seen but from what I can tell it was very barebones. This new version is fairly decent, the transfer was done well, but there is still a hint of grain in the film. This version is probably the same as the first one with a few more extras thrown in. There are a few fairly lengthy documentaries about the making of the film, much of it is mixed old and new interviews with the film principles. Interesting to note that from what I have seen they didn’t get a newer Costner, Connery or DeNiro interview on here. Its all old promotional material.
If you are a big fan of this film I would say go out and get it, even if just to get some of the extras. For the rest of the casual movie viewing public, it would be safe to rent. You aren’t missing much, and you could probably see this one on TBS some late night anyway. Its a decent DVD, but nothing outstanding.