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The Untouchables [RSC 48]


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We're diving into the world of organised crime this month with @djw180's nomination of Brian De Palma's The Untouchables.

The Untouchables 1987 Rare Poster by Rare Cinema Collection | King & McGaw

Based on a true story, this film stars Kevin Costner as by the book lawman Eliot Ness who is determined to bring down Al Capone (Robert De Niro) and his illegal bootlegging activities.  He is helped by his crew of untouchables, so called because they can't be bribed, unlike most of the cops in Chicago.  This group is made up of Charles Martin Smith, Andy Garcia, and, in an Oscar winning performance, Sean Connery. 

Throw in a classic Ennio Morricone score (my favourite of his), and you have one classy flick.  It's been a while since I've watched this, but this was always my favourite Costner film - even though I love Waterworld - and I can't wait to jump back into this world.  Just don't p*ss off De Niro or he'll show you his batting technique.

GIF by FirstAndMonday

they send one of yours to the hospital, you send one of theirs to the morgue

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I was looking for this on Amazon Prime (they don't have it sadly), and discovered a kid's cartoon based on it!  They really made kid's shows out of some weird stuff back in the day, like Robocop.


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  • 3 weeks later...

A great film with a great cast and score. How can you go wrong with Sean Connery (beat cop Malone) in an Oscar winning supporting role with Robert de Niro (Al Capone) also in the cast? Kevin Costner is far from one of my favourite actors, but he is perfect as Elliot Ness, the stereotypical heroic good cop, with beautiful wife and adoring daughter at home supporting him all the way. Ness is determined to get notorious gangster Al Capone by all legal means, and then accepting things may have to be done 'the Chicago way' if he wants to succeed. Andy Garcia and Charles Martin Smith are also very good as the other two of Ness's 'Untouchables' (cops that can't be bribed by the gangsters). Billy Drago also deserves a mention for his role as Capone's chief assassin, the eerily scary Nitti.

This is all enhanced by Ennio Morricone's fantastic score. As I've said before I rate this as his 3rd best. Maybe technically the music is better than that in places (Capone's theme for example), but it just doesn't grab me emotionally quite as much as his scores for Cinema Paradiso and The Mission. The triumphant final theme, that also plays when we first see the 4 Untouchables walking side by side, shotguns over the shoulder after their first successful raid, is one of his best individual pieces for me.

There is some fantastic cinematography, and I'm somewhat surprised that was not Oscar nominated, Think of some of the iconic scenes, the one mentioned just above, the opening scene of Capone having a shave that starts directly overhead, and of course the 'baseball' scene which also ends with an overhead shot.

It also has one of my favourite scenes of any film; the shoot-out in the station when they apprehend 'the Bookkeeper', the witness they know will put Capone behind bars. It's a fantastic setting and that scene kind of sums up Elliot Ness's journey in the film as he goes from being the all-round good guy helping a mother with a pram, seeing the gangster, and in one smooth action drawing his gun and shooting first. Then it gets even better as crack-shot Stone (Andy Garcia) arrives, takes out a couple more bad guys, catches the now run-away pram and holds steady aim on the final gangster.

A firm 10/10.


One slight thing does puzzle me though. The credits ends with the usual “All persons depicted in this film are fictitious, blah, blah, blah” which I know they include just incase someone depicted objects. But we know for a fact at least two of the characters, Ness and Capone, were certainly not fictitious. The story was, all-be-it loosely, based on the real story of agent Elliot Ness and how he put Al Capone in jail and Ness has a writing credit for his book that the 60s TV series of the same name was based on.

Edited by djw180
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