Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday Night at the Movies: The Untouchables (1987)

He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He puts one of your men in the hospital. You put one of his in the morgue. So goes the tale of Brian de Palma's The Untouchables. A loosely based account of real life events that turns into an Academy Award winning movie back when I was 15. Does it hold up today? Stick with me!

For one, yes it does. But . . . and this is a heavy but . . . I am currently reading Douglas Perry's biography on Eliot Ness and can safely say that 99.9 per cent of David Mamet's screenplay for The Untouchables is bullshit. But, as Denzel Washington said in Training Day, it's entertaining bullshit. And that's enough for this Basement critic.

Actually, large portions of de Palma's flick are nothing short of classic. The staircase sequence at the train station, Nitti's dive off the rooftop, and any scene with Sean Connery. It's all pure gold. This movie can honestly do no wrong. It's a beautifully realized flick, and executed with almost operatic precision. They don't make movies like this anymore, and the world is shittier for it.

Kevin Costner has never been better, or better served, than he is here. Ditto Andy Garcia. And Connery, well, he earned that Academy Award. The fact he hasn't made a movie in 12 years makes me said, because he was, and always shall be, The Man.

As for De Niro. He's De Niro. Fuck off and leave the man alone.

This is noir done right. A big, bold and beautifully told piece of bullshit the plays off real events without caring about the facts. The reformed journalist in me cringes, but the movie fan in me had a blast. I can't wait to catch The Untouchables again.

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