Winner - Best Supporting Actor (Sean Connery)

PARAMOUNT PICTURES (1987)

Director: Brian De Palma

Starring: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro, Andy Garcia, Charles Martin Smith

Loosely based on the events of the 1930's Prohibition-era as Prohibition Agent Eliot Ness tries to take down the mighty Al Capone, The Untouchables is an impressive depiction of the time and highlights the power wielded by the crime lords of the cities. The name Al Capone is instantly recognisable, and De Niro shines as the charming, vicious mob boss. He snarls his way through scenes and switches to the media facing charisma that the press love effortlessly. In this guise, De Niro could probably pass for a genuine crime overlord. He brings a presence to the screen that the character demands and is the ideal counterpart for Costner.

 

The Untouchables is potentially Costner’s best role (JFK maybe?) and his progression from by-the-book good guy to the enforcer who is willing to do what is necessary to get his man is expertly handled and crafted.

He is entirely believable in his performance and shares a great partnership with Connery. As the movie unfolds, is emotional arc is tremendous to see and makes the film a success.

 

Sean Connery steals the show with an Oscar-winning performance. Playing a grizzled, weathered officer who goes from simply walking the beat to playing an integral part in the plan to bring down Capone, he is fantastic. Showing all the signs of a leader and a mentor amongst his team, his ruthlessness shines through, and more than just being the veteran muscle, his interactions with the assembled squad are natural and the character is giving a fitting journey. Powerful.

 

Set to a stunning score by Ennio Morricone, the movie is as stylish as it is slick. With a wardrobe provided by Giorgio Armani, the cast look the part and every inch the 1930’s enforcers and mobsters. Throughout the movie, historical locations in Chicago were used to lend an even greater air of authenticity to the movies visual appearance. With the inclusions of the theatres, the grand hotels and the Union Station, we are presented with some beautiful imagery which almost become characters within themselves.

 

Whilst the film is loosely based on the players and events of the era, there are a lot of historical inaccuracies surrounding the movie which would dampen the experience somewhat if you are clued up on the real life happenings, however in order to make a compelling story, De Palma obviously believed in slanting events to match his vision. At times, the story takes a few liberties (i.e. the journalist hanging around the first raid scene – nobody saw him) and the gun fights become contrived towards the end, however the film provides a classic scene in the previously mentioned Union Station – gracefully shot and full of the energy the film lacks at certain points.

 

Containing some fantastic performances, great tense story moments and iconic imagery, The Untouchables provides a classy, slick mob movie with plenty of compelling beats, but just falls short of being exceptional. Almost untouchable.

August 18th 2016

© 2016 Matt Hudson / What I Watched Tonight / Essex

follow us
contact us
hear us