The Untouchables Reviews
Watched this on 21/3/15
Like L.A. Confidential, the best gangster films of the 20th century are about police officers and not about the mafia. Untouchables has a stellar cast including Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, Sean Connery and Andy Garcia, all turned up commendable performances. Brian DePalma's thriller flick is not onlky stylish, but it adds action to the otherwise dialogue driven gangster flicks. The shooting scene in the railway station is a true pleasure to watch and the director of Mission Impossible has done a fabulous task here and this is one amongst the best films of Kevin Costner.
Grade = 8.5/10
Unfortunately, de Palma's deftness at audience manipulation and his penchant for highly-manufactured staging have their downsides. The plot unfolds in a series of violent vignettes, and while these are exciting and memorable entries in the long tradition of shoot-em-up cinema, de Palma does not always know how much is too much and where to draw the line. The first big showdown takes place on a bridge, and the visuals are great. We see the plan unfold clearly. But the music is all wrong for the moment. It sounds almost comical, and is the kind of music that can only be played after the fact because its tension-killing jauntiness indicates that none of the principles are going to die. The film is scored by universally-acknowledged genius Ennio Morricone, so the fault must lie with de Palma for putting the music in the wrong place. In the next major bloodbath, which involves Sean Connery's quotable Irish cop Malone and a pair of assassins, de Palma switches to first-person view for an extended shot that moves seamlessly through a window and up and down a hallway. This technique is often used in schlock horror, but it works just as well to build tension in a period piece drama. As a bonus, it showcases the movie's excellent set dressing; the 1930-ish furniture and fixtures are museum-display perfect, yet feel authentic and lived-in. The end of this sequence has enough bullets that it really must result in an immediate death, but for the sake of melodrama de Palma stretches out the victim's life in a way that is unforgivably unbelievable. The loss of believability is only compounded in the movie's final act, in which de Palma detaches the film from the realm of physical probability in order to indulge in a slow-motion massacre on a staircase. It is an obvious homage to the famous Odessa Staircase scene in Sergei Eisenstein's "The Battleship Potemkin" (1925), which popularized the telescoping of time as a way to tell several small stories that occur in the same place at the same moment. It looks great, and it's gripping, but when it ends we can feel that we've been played.
The conclusion of the film is too easy, even corny, completing de Palma's drift away from stylized reality and into pure fantasy. Stray elements of the movie-the wife, the determined photographer, the corrupt police chief-never reach their full potential. "The Untouchables" can't be considered a flawless film by a long shot, but as a playground for big, bold personalities like de Niro, Connery, and de Palma, it's absolutely a fun one.
Reasonably interesting but could have been great. However, there are so many Hollywoodisms and glamourisations it feels quite superficial.
The weak script and formulaic movie-for-the-masses directing by Brian De Palma are compounded by the usual unconvincing performance from Kevin Costner. He alternates between dead boring and overly gung ho here.
Sean Connery is almost equally flat and unconvincing.
In fact, there's hardly a convincing and/or engaging performance to be found here. The only good one comes from Robert De Niro who is charming and suitably mean and scary as Al Capone.
The Untouchables is a great movie, with great actors. Connery stole the show with his mismatched performance as Malone. Brian De Palma's directing in the movie was fair, but I think his direction needed a bit of effort. The writing is ok as well, but still it needed a bit of effort. All aside, The Untouchables proves to be one of finest Mobster movies ever made. It has it's way of proceeding without disappointment.