The Untouchables is a near perfect mix of cinematic ingredients. Even though it was filmed in the late 80s this is not a modern gangster movie like Goodfellas, or even the Godfather.
This is basically a “Hayes Code” era film that somehow escaped in a time machine and wound up where it did. That said it is beautiful movie, wonderfully shot by Brian De Palma, with a classic score by Ennio Morricone (and with period music by Duke Ellington); and then you add in the dialogue from David “F*** You” Mamet and you already have the ingredients for an instant classic.
But of course there’s more, Sean Connery gives one of his career best performances in this Oscar winning turn as hard boiled Chicago street cop Jimmy Malone.
Robert De Niro is maniacal fun as Al Capone. Then Kevin Costner is perfectly as cast the ultimate “goody two-shoes” prohibition agent Elliot Ness who is responsible for bringing together a team to topple Capone.
Billy Drago plays Frank Netti, one of Capone’s hit men. He does such a good job here that he nearly steals the movie on the villain side from De Niro with his Dracula like creepiness. Drago’s face and mannerisms haunted me as a child and still make me squirm to this guy. I’m sure he’s a lovely man in real life but whenever he’s on screen you just want to kill it with fire.
This story may play a bit fast and loose with history but that is neither here nor there. This is a good old fashioned 1930s style gangster flick where you know somehow the good guy will pull through in the end, and the bad guys will get their much deserved just desserts.
The Untouchables gets a four out of five: GREAT.