HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  Untouchables, The That's The Chicago WayBuy this film here.
Year: 1987
Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Charles Martin Smith, Andy Garcia, Robert De Niro, Richard Bradford, Jack Kehoe, Brad Sullivan, Billy Drago, Patricia Clarkson, Vito D'Ambrosio, Steve Goldstein, Peter Aylward, Don Harvey, Robert Swan, Del Close, Clifton James
Genre: Thriller
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: The year is 1930 and there's a war going on in Chicago between rival factions who wish to control the supply of illegal alcohol during the Prohibition-era ban. The most powerful gang leader is Al Capone (Robert De Niro), a man satisfied that he will never be taken down by the law because he believes he is too clever for them. Nevertheless, the police are on to him, and amidst the bribery that turns a blind eye to his criminality emerges one man, Treasury agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner), determined that the killing ends now - yet Capone is in a far more powerful position than he is...

The Untouchables, loosely adapted from the classic television series, was a big favourite among movie audiences in 1987 who responded to what was essentially one of the era's action movies performed in period costume. However, this was no Arnold Schwarzenegger movie in thirties Chicago, as it has the benefit of Brian De Palma's direction at its most stylish and confident, and a script by David Mamet that perfectly suited its story and characters, some of whom were drawn from real life. But do not mistake this film for an accurate document of those days: this was strictly the cops and gangsters of the movies we were being presented with.

And of course, if any director knows the right films to reference and influence him it was De Palma. Here it was as if the filmmakers of the classic hoodlum movies of the time this was depicting had been transported to the eighties and given carte blanche to make the purest thriller experience they could based on the genre they knew. As filtered through De Palma's sensibilities, the result was tense, colourful and a pleasure to watch for any fans of the most accomplished of its type, with sequences evoking not only films like Howard Hawks' Scarface or The Roaring Twenties, but also more obscure works such as Nicholas Ray's Party Girl when Capone takes a baseball bat to one errant underling.

And not only that, for as the scenes where Ness takes his newly assembled team - called The Untouchables because they are immune to bribery - out to the border illustrate, this was in some ways a western in alternative dress. One of the most enjoyable themes is that we are in no doubt who is a good guy and who is bad, and our faith in the decency of the four heroes is unshakeable. They include Charles Martin Smith as the accountant who notices that there are deep inconsistencies in Capone's tax payments, Andy Garcia as the sharp-shooting Italian there to show us that not all his countrymen are bad, and the scene stealer: Sean Connery as beat cop Malone.

Connery won an Oscar for his role, and provides a jolt of electricity in his playing as Malone shows Ness he will have to fight dirty when push comes to shove if he wants to defeat Capone. It is he who brings hope to a world where it appears as if the battle against crime has been lost, as he is the embodiment of St Jude, the patron saint of hopless causes, driving the team on even to the risk of their own lives. Contrast him with De Niro's splendidly loathsome Capone, a smug and despicable mobster who we're itching to see brought down - it's a pity he and Connery don't share any scenes, although the screen might not be able to take that much forceful personality. Costner's Ness is a curious hero, humourless and by the book, but the pillar of righteousness the film needs nevertheless. With vivid lines and setups such as the railway station shootout, De Palma and his team brought both brutality and class to one of the finest thrillers of the decade. Music by Ennio Morricone, which has him at the top of his game.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3038 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Brian De Palma  (1940 - )

Controversial American director and Alfred Hitchcock fan, strong on style, but weak on emotion. His early, political films like Greetings and Hi, Mom! gained some acclaim, but it was with Sisters that he emerged as a major talent of the 1970s and settled into his cycle of thrillers and horrors: The Phantom of the Paradise, Carrie, Obsession, The Fury, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Body Double, Carlito's Way, Raising Cain, Snake Eyes and Femme Fatale being good examples.

He's not aversed to directing blockbusters such as Scarface, The Untouchables and Mission Impossible, but Bonfire of the Vanities was a famous flop and The Black Dahlia fared little better as his profile dipped in its later years, with Passion barely seeing the inside of cinemas. Even in his poorest films, his way with the camera is undeniably impressive. Was once married to Nancy Allen.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: