In a Nutshell. Mini reviews of movies old and new. Minimum words. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional trout.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The Untouchables (1987)

Chicago in the 1930s was a good time to be a milliner, but, as agent Eliot Ness discovered, a bad time to be an honest cop on a crusade to take down organised crime. Luckily for Ness he had Sean Connery to mentor him in the ways of usefulness like some kind of ‘Irish-American’ beat cop sensei.
I’m puzzled as to why Untouchables ends up on a lot of Best Gangster Movie lists. It has some amazing set pieces, particularly the Eisenstein reference at the train station, but the casting is questionable, the performances lack spark, the story is weak, and even Morricone dropped the ball.
De Niro as Al Capone is an exception; his character is badly written but at least he gives the gangster nuances through subtle gestures.
The problem is perhaps due to De Palma wanting a commercial hit so that he could gain freedom to pursue more personal projects. An understandable goal, but the result is wishy-washy, with not enough identity of its own.

3 baby steps out of 5

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