Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How Had I Not Seen This Movie!? Part 9: The Untouchables

The Untouchables

People always said I would love Brian De Palma. As much as I hate to say it, they were right. Everything I've seen by him so far has been excellent, with The Untouchables being my favorite so far. Staring Kevin Costner as Elliot Ness, the movie follows Ness' attempt to put Al Capone (played perfectly by Robert De Niro) behind bars. At the beginning, Ness is discouraged by the seemingly inescapable corruption within all city offices of Chicago. However, he soon meets Jimmy Malone (played by Sean Connery, who won an Oscar for his role), an older cop who encourages Ness to take a more dramatic approach to cleaning up the city. They enlist the help of rookie cop George Stone (Andy Garcia) and Accountant Oscar Wallace (Charles Martin Smith) and begin raiding the offices that no one else would dare touch for fear of having the whole city strike them down. 

What follows is a great story with lots of style (no surprise to fellow De Palma fans). The movie has many classic set pieces, the most famous of which takes place at the steps of a train station. The entire sequence was masterfully shot and brought to mind the usual comparison of De Palma being the heir to Hitchcock's Master of Suspense. De Palma also pulls great performances from the entire cast, especially Connery and De Niro, who seem to be having a lot of fun playing such large characters. Kevin Costner isn't given much to chew on, being the story's straight man, but that actually seemed to play into Costner's strengths as an actor. Overall, The Untouchables is a fantastic film and one that makes me want to dig even deeper into De Palma's work.

You're Welcome,

Valuable Life Lesson Learned
: Pay your taxes.

Upcoming Titles:
- Kiss Me Deadly
- After Hours
- Serpico
- Battle Royale

1 comment:

  1. In general, I'm not a huge De Palma fan. (In fairness, though, I've only seen maybe five of his films...)

    I haven't seen The Untouchables in a while, but I remember being underwhelmed. I don't care for Costner in general and I thought they mishandled De Niro (who basically just popped up every now and then to chew scenery). The sequence on the steps in the train station is fantastic though. I just feel like De Palma, for all of his stylistic excellence, is kind of clunky storyteller.

    In comparison, Scarface is also a flawed movie, but it's so extravagantly over-the-top and insanely excessive that its existence is justified. It's an undeniable classic, if only for the way it's permeated pop culture. You really need to see this if you're going to watch more De Palma.

    Last point: Carlito's Way. Stop sleeping on this! I just re-watched it two weeks ago for the first time in years. De Palma's directing is in absolute top form - he nonchalantly tosses of amazing shot after amazing shot like it's nothing. I like the way the story flows here way better than The Untouchables or Scarface. Don't get me wrong, it's not perfect, and it' a little long, but it's definitely worth watching if you like De Palma. The last act is great. Pacino, Leguizamo, and especially Sean Penn are all great. Make sure this is on your list.

    Also, I'm surprised you like The Untouchables more than Blow Out.