1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touchable...
This film marks several remarkable firsts: The first true representation of a David Mamet film script (although "The Verdict" in 1980 came first), the leading-man status of Kevin Costner (deservedly so, since despite disasters like "The Postman" and "3000 Miles to Graceland", he's a very good actor with a very impressive resume and an Oscar to boot), Sean Connery's first...
Published on July 13 2004 by James Donnelly
3.0 out of 5 stars Unexciting but entertaining.
The sets, and the cinematography are beautiful, and DePalma's direction is as good as always, particularly his long panning shots. However Costner is a disgrace to this movie. How this man was a leading man in hollywood only adds volumes to what was known as a terrible time for movies - the late 80s-to early 90s period. "I want to get Capone" Pay attention to...
Published on March 24 2004 by Lucian
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touchable...,
This film marks several remarkable firsts: The first true representation of a David Mamet film script (although "The Verdict" in 1980 came first), the leading-man status of Kevin Costner (deservedly so, since despite disasters like "The Postman" and "3000 Miles to Graceland", he's a very good actor with a very impressive resume and an Oscar to boot), Sean Connery's first Oscar win, also very much deserved, and most importantly, the first good film from Brian De Palma. People call films like "Body Double", "Carrie", "Blow Out" and "Dressed to Kill" classics... why they do, I have nary a clue. Those are some of the worst rip-off films in history. His "Hitchcockian" feeling is, to me, straight-up plagarism. He rips off plots and shots that are embarassing mish-moshes of Hitch's best (and worst) stuff. And did you see "Mission to Mars"? I didn't think so. And the only people that I can imagine that liked "Femme Fatale" were fans of the bathroom sequence (If you saw it, you know what I'm talking about). The only other film of his that was worth watching was "Mission: Impossible". But "The Untouchables" is a real work of art. I won't go into plot points, but I'll comment on the film's great points: 1) The dialogue is sparkling. Mamet makes these people real as opposed to just making them standard action caricatures (the young idealist, the grizzled old wise-man, the cocky rookie, and the dorky fifth-wheel). 2) The performances are top-notch. Costner, Connery, Martin Smith, Garcia, De Niro, and an underrated performance from Richard Bradford as Chief Dorsett really help to pull this film off. They give it all they got. They make the tragedy and drama and excitement and horror and triumpth of this film work. 3) The visuals are stunning. Stephen Burum really makes that camera work, especially with those beautiful shots of LaSalle Street. This film is a great revisionist telling of the Eliot Ness vs. Al Capone brawl. The film obviously takess a lot of liberties with history, but they really work, especially with the dispatching of one particularly bad man which in my opinion makes for the MOST satisfying film death EVER. It really makes you happy to watch this guy bite it ("Did he sound anything like THAT?!?"). This is a great film and I could not recommend it more highly. But go ahead and skip the rest of De Palma's 'classics'.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars i love the movie and it's series,
By A Customer
hello,my name's aaron johnson
the reason i'm writting this review for the untouchables film
is because i've seen it so many times that i enjoy how malone says his famous line to elliot , the one about getting capone
anyway, the whole entire plot is excellent
especially when the federal agents try to stop capone's men in time
the other reason i'm writting in this review , is because i've seen the untouchables tv series
and i'm wondering this very question ;
"when will the untouchables tv series from 1993
be out on dvd"
because i think that people would enjoy the entire [whatever how many seasons it ran for [if it was one or two] of the series
i'm sure a lot of other customers would appreciate the untouchables tv series on dvd
4.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious, flawed gangster film,
The Untouchables might be said to be less than the sum of its parts. Certain of those parts are very good indeed: Sean Connery gives an Oscar winning performance as a street-wise Irish-American cop, Robert De Niro is unforgettable as Al Capone (though he's not actually on screen that much), the atmosphere of Prohibition-era Chicago is elaborately and convincingly realized, and certain of the cinematic set-pieces, like the justly famous midnight shoot-out in Chicago's train station, are about as good as they can be. But against this, Kevin Costner's performance as Eliot Ness is wooden, the scenes with his family seem too goody-goody, as if the film were straining to make a point of the decent values he's defending, and, with the exception of Connery's character, it's hard to feel much empathy with either the good guys or the bad guys. All in all, an ambitious film which ends up being a bravura piece of film making but a good, not great, gangster movie. Rated R for occasional language and lots of graphic violence. Available in various DVD issues, including a recent Blu-Ray; I saw it on the 2004 Paramount standard DVD Collector's Edition, and I thought the DVD quality was very good.
4.0 out of 5 stars "Somebody messes with me, I'm gonna mess with him",
I am what you could call a relatively new movie fan. I have always liked movies, but I didn't use to watch too many of them. Things have changed, but due to that previous attitude, I still have a lot of old movies to "discover". That is the reason why from time to time I find some jewels that were released a long time ago, but that are totally new to me. "The untouchables" (1987) is, of course, one of such movies.
This film is set in Chicago, during the prohibition, a time were mobsters had enormously increased their influence due to the contraband of alcohol. The most important of all mobsters was Al Capone (wonderfully played by Robert De Niro), whose influence was pervasive and somehow accepted by most as a fact of reality. Capone controlled Chicago with force and bribes, and a philosophy that the scriptwriter of this movie (David Mamet) summed up in a phrase that the actor that plays Capone said: "Somebody messes with me, I'm gonna mess with him".
Things change when a newcomer to the city, federal agent Elliot Ness, forms a small group to fight crime and target Capone's shady dealings. The team formed by Ness, an old Chicago cop (Sean Connery), a rookie police officer (Andy Garcia) and an accountant (Charles Martin Smith), replays in a highly entertaining way Brian de Palma's cinematographic version of the group called "The untouchables".
It is worthwhile to highlight the fact that you shouldn't expect a movie that tells the historical truth about that period in America's history. If that is your purpose, I think that you are likely to be sorely disappointed. However, if you want to watch a great film, with wonderful performances and marked by a dynamic pace, rent this movie :)
4.0 out of 5 stars The Chicago Way,
I am not really a fan of Kevin Costner's acting skills. That said, there are a handful of his films though, where I think that despite his prescence, the film is still to good to ignore. The Untouchables is such a film. Taking its cues from the hit television show of the same name, starring the late Robert Stack, Brian De Palma created an unflinching mob film that is hard to forget.
The film traces the struggles of idealistic lawman Eliot Ness (Costner) as he ties to bring down the notorious Al Capone (Robert De Niro) at the height of the prohibition era. Ness soon discovers that most of the Chicago police force is corrupt and on the take. After a chance meeting of beat cop Jimmy Malone (Sean Connery, giving an Oscar winning performance), Ness learns he must do things a bit differently, if he wants to take down Capone. The two men take on a pair of allies, to help with their crusade, Agent Oscar Wallace (Charles Martin Smith) and Agent "George Stone" (Andy Garcia).
Those familiar with the films of Brian De Palma wont be disappointed. Like Scarface before it, the film is nearly an urelenting assault on the senses. Everything is nearly pitch perfect. Of course, it also doesn't hurt that writer David Mamet's script, expertly avoids the typical ganster cliché at almost every turn. The film is quite violent but after awhile, you are so drawn in, that it becomes an important part of the narrative. De Niro as Capone gives a gleeful turn, without going over the top. Garcia, early in his career, makes us sit up and take notice. And all I can say of Connery is that, for me, the film helped me to see him outside of his role as superspy James Bond, for the first time (even though he hadn't been Bond for some time by then). Costner plays Ness quite well--but it helps that Connery is there.
I really wish that Paramount would release a special edition of The Untouchables on DVD. It certainly deserves it. As it stands now, the only extra on the current disc, is the film's theatrical trailer. And that my friends is truly a crime. For now, The Untouchables gets **** and a half stars.
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this movie,
The Untouchables is a fantastic film. The 1987 box office smash is one of the best gangster movies to come out in years and offers plenty of action and attitude with an all star cast.
The Untouchables is about the war on prohibition in the 1920's. It's become a billion dollar business led by Al Capone(De Niro). A young treasury officer Elliot Ness(Costner) is brought in to stop some of the violence and to uphold the law. He's not confident in his abilities and isn't sure on what to do. He gets a crafty veteran beat cop Malone(Connery) to help him out. They then get the sharp shooting Stone(Garcia) and an accoutant(Smith) to help him bring down Capone. It's now up to Ness and his group of Untouchables to get him.
Kevin Costner is brilliant in this film. It's one of the better movies he's made in his carear. He's believable and uses emotions well in the movie. This is one of the movies that made me a fan of this guy, and like I said earlier it really jump started his carear before he did hits like Field of Dreams and Dances with Wolves.
Sean Connery is great in this film. It's argueably the best performance of his ilustrious carear. He won the Oscar for Best Supporter Actor in 1987 and easily deserved it. He's great as the teacher who is giving Ness the ropes. Connery plays the tough guy fantastic. I love Connery in this film.
The rest of the cast is great. You know Robert De Niro is going to be awesome. Him and Al Pacino are the gold standard for gangsters. Andy Garcia is great. This is the film that got him his part in the Godfather III. Charles Martin Smith is great as Oscar. The part was suppose to go to Rick Moranis, but I like him in it. I don't think it would have been the same without him. You also have to give some props to Patrcia Richardson who is Ness's wife in the film. Like I said earlier this is an awesome cast.
This movie is displayed beautifully. All the sets look great. You think you are in 1920 Chicago. All the actors look great. They were fitted by Armani and it looks like 1920 Chicago. The films sets and costumes were also nominated for Oscars.
The score is great in the film. Ennio Morricone wrote an Oscar nominated score and it accents the movie beautifully. I like the theme to the movie a lot. I also like Al Capnoes theme a lot too. It so enhances Al Capone.
This movie has one of my all-time favorite movies scenes ever. It takes place in the train station shoot out. Stoner does a no look pass with a gun to Ness and then does a slide to save a baby carriage. It's an absolutely great shot and is well known from the film.
This is a great movie. It's got a great cast, action, sets, costumes, and story. It's one of my all-time favorites and I've never met anybody that didn't like it. You definetly won't regret watching this one.
3.0 out of 5 stars Unexciting but entertaining.,
The sets, and the cinematography are beautiful, and DePalma's direction is as good as always, particularly his long panning shots. However Costner is a disgrace to this movie. How this man was a leading man in hollywood only adds volumes to what was known as a terrible time for movies - the late 80s-to early 90s period. "I want to get Capone" Pay attention to when Costner utters this lifeless line. It leaves the viewer wanting to scream at him just to get it right. Bobby D is great as Capone, however "they aint enough of 'em." I have no idea why this movie is fictionalized. Anyone who has read Ness' real Untouchable account, would find it filled with excitiement. I wanted to see speakeasies, and flapper girls, beer stills, and drive by's in Ford model A sedans, Wall Street. C'mon. This era was one of the most exciting in American history, and this movie, blatantly ignores all of it. Plus there is no justification for Capones demise in the movie other than little man constantly hinting at income tax evasion, granted Ness DID NOT cause the demise of Capone. I do like the opening scene with the expolsion at the local five and dime. The music leading that scene is great, then BANG!!!!!
5.0 out of 5 stars Good versus Evil in a deadly dance of operatic proportions.,
Sometimes dubbed "the Master of the Macabre," director Brian De Palma is best known for his enactments of the supernatural ("Carrie"), mania ("Dressed to Kill") - and his mob stories. The latter part of his reputation is primarily grounded on four of his movies from the ten-year period between 1983 and 1993: "Scarface" (1983, starring Al Pacino), "Wise Guys" (1986, starring Danny De Vito, Joe Piscopo and Harvey Keitel), "Carlito's Way" (1993, again starring Pacino) ... and "The Untouchables" (1987), featuring an all-star cast including Robert De Niro, Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Andy Garcia and Charles Martin Smith. Among these, "The Untouchables" stands out as the only movie not primarily told from the gangster's but from the lawmen's perspective - but what it does share with all of De Palma's works is an almost voyeuristic appeal to its audience's visual senses; going far beyond the lavish display of film blood it is most often cited for.
Less fact-based than cinematic grand opera par excellence, the movie takes as its premise the end of the career of Chicago's ganglord of ganglords, Al "Scarface" Capone, who (after a few half-hearted attempts to prosecute him for murder had failed due to the unavailability of witnesses) pled guilty, in 1931, to evading federal income tax, and was sentenced to an 11-year prison term and a $50,000 fine. Capone's downfall was brought about by a group of initially 50 but later only nine Treasury Agents, formed in 1929 (not in 1930, as suggested here) with the express purpose of breaking up his operations, and headed by Eliot Ness, whose 1957 book "The Untouchables" posthumously gave new rise to his fame - Ness died of a heart attack without ever having witnessed the full extent of his book's success - and inspired, inter alia, the like-named 1959 television series starring Robert Stack and Brian De Palma's 1987 movie.
Scripted by Pulitzer Prize winner and Chicago native David Mamet ("Glengarry Glen Ross"), "The Untouchables" is not so much a study in character development as based on a western's classic "good versus evil" setup; although that doesn't mean that its protagonists are two-dimensional in any way. On the contrary: Robert De Niro imbues his Capone with a ruthlessness and glib charm very likely matching those of the real "Scarface," who was known for his little hesitation to commit murder and other acts of violence as much as he cultivated a reputation as a savvy businessman and benefactor of the poor, for example by running several soup kitchens. (And yes, all of De Niro's mannerisms are on full display, too; but rarely have they fitted a role as well as here.) Kevin Costner's Eliot Ness may be a little too assertive - Robert Stack once commented, after several conversations with Ness's nearest and dearest, that the real-life Treasury Agent had been described to him as "rather soft-spoken, but very effective and brave" - but mildness is certainly not the principle trait written into the larger-than-life role of the man who "got" Al Capone, and Costner *is* an effective lead; although he is matched (not entirely sidelined, but darn near outplayed) by Sean Connery, who deservedly won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a National Board of Review Award as the crotchety old-timer Malone who has seen it all, somehow managed to stay both clean and alive, and now lets Ness talk him into becoming his tutor in all things Chicago Gangland. Andy Garcia, in his break-through role, is instantly likable as George Stone, the smart, fast kid from the South Side who doesn't take kindly to put-downs of his origin but can nail a human target with one hand while lying down and holding a baby stroller with the other hand. Charles Martin Smith finally brings humanity and subtle humor to the character probably closest to the real-life "Untouchables," accountant Oscar Wallace, who first has the idea to charge Capone for income tax evasion. Strong performances by Billy Drago as Capone's right-hand man Frank Nitti (who of course was not really thrown off a rooftop by Ness), Richard Bradford as Police Chief Mike Dorsett, Patricia Clarkson as Ness's wife, Jack Kehoe as Capone's bookkeeper Walter Payne and others round out an altogether impressive cast.
Unmistakeably scored by Ennio Morricone (whose style often, and certainly here, doesn't even take a full bar to recognize; and who with an ASCAP Award, a Grammy and a BAFTA Award was the movie's other major winner besides Connery), "The Untouchables" lives off its splendid cinematography, production design - costumes courtesy of Giorgio Armani - and the exquisite timing of its sharp-edged dialogue and editing: Not only is screenwriter Mamet known to have his actors practice their lines according to a metronome; the editing of some of the movie's most memorable scenes has the distinct feeling of a carefully choreographed, veritable ballet. This is particularly true for Malone's death, pointedly set against the aria "Vesti la Giubba" from Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera "I Pagliacci" ("The Clowns"), which is based on a real-life murder and which Capone attends while his lieutenants waylay Malone in his own apartment; and the famous shoot-out in Chicago's Union Station, which turns into a deadly dance of bullets, blood and a baby stroller, shot almost entirely in slow motion.
Paradoxically, the one plot element this movie is most often criticized for - the jury switch at Capone's trial - is one of the few facts that actually did take place (although Capone's attorney would have had to be given the right to conduct a new voir dire). But ultimately, it doesn't even really matter how much of the plot is fact-based and how much fiction: Even if "The Untouchables" doesn't quite reach the mythical status of the "Godfather" trilogy - particularly its Parts 1 and 2 - as the mob movie to end all mob movies, it is one of only a handful other films that at least come close to the proportions of Francis Ford Coppola's epic masterpiece.
3.0 out of 5 stars Booze, Blood and Baseball,
Upon seeing this movie again for the first time in a while, I realized it just wasn't as good as I remembered. There's so much talent, too; this could have been spectacular.
Sometimes the direction is a bit heavy handed for De Palma. The movie looks great, incredible really. The clothes, the cars, the sets, some exterior Chicago shots, all look amazing and new, as if you're back in 1930.
There are some problems, though. One is the acting. Kevin Costner is not a good actor. His face and physical presence are perfect for Elliot Ness, the Treasury agent dedicated to bringing down Al Capone in bootleggin' Chicago. But he's a wooden actor, and some lines are awful. (After shooting a mobster he is very upset and screams "What is this, some knid of game?")
Then there's DeNiro, yes Robert DeNiro as Capone himself. Apparently DeNiro found Capone's original tailors and even wore the same kind of silk underwear Capone wore. He's also fat and round like Capone, looking even more stretched out than Jake LaMotta. But he's too over the top, doing the DeNiro we all know: doing that face, the mugging, screaming, cursing, and generally acting like a lunatic. The performance is in the wrong movie, and the script (by Mamet, too) does nothing to illuminate the man. Given that Capone is central to the story--this is about an obsession with taking him down--we have no idea how or why this volatile figure became so powerful.
The handling of the material is not very subtle, but then again, this is based on the old TV series, not on history, hence the many broad liberties taken with certain events such as Frank Nitti's death (he wasn't tossed off a building in broad daylight) and Capone's trial. (Uh, not sure you can switch juries during a trial...)
The film most resembles a pulpish Western set in 1920s Chicago. It is entertaining, giving us someone to root for, someone to hate, and including good side characters like Connery's (he won an Oscar) and Garcia's. It's very violent, very stylish (it's DePalma) and a good enough time. Unfortunately, the DVD has virtually no extras. We get a trailer, but none of the behind the scenes, which are always good when it comes to a period film.
5.0 out of 5 stars Effective and entertaining. The all-star cast delivers!,
What do you expect from a film in which Kevin Costner and Sean Connery star as the good guys and Robert DeNiro plays all-time Bad Guy Al Capone? A great movie! And that's what this is--a really really good gangster flick. No, it is not The Godfather, but then again nothing but The Godfather is The Godfather. Having said that, this is a wonderful film that actually does a pretty good job of explaining what Elliot Ness was up against when he was given the job of enforcing prohibition, gunning for Al Capone and cleaning up Chicago.
Costner is effective in his role as Elliot Ness. Connery does fine as the Chicago policeman Ness recruits to show him the ropes as to how things in Chicago operate. De Niro is matchless as Al Capone.
My favorite scene is the one in which Elliot Ness joins forces with the Canadian Mounties. Hilarious!
This movie is good entertainment and the storyline manages to move along pretty well without dragging and losing the viewer's interest. The film never makes the mistake of taking itself too seriously, and its use of humor is effective and prevents the movie from waxing pompous, which would have been easy for it to do, given the serious theme. This is one that you'll watch again and again. Recommended.
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