The Untouchables

The Untouchables ★★★

Somehow went 32 years without seeing this. Got into a long debate with my viewing companion about to what extent the movie's depiction of Eliot Ness was sincere or tongue-in-cheek, to what extent this mattered, and to what extent I was making excuses for a celebrated male auteur. Ultimately my feeling is that for De Palma, this movie is first and foremost an exercise in style, and a chance to traffic in the aesthetics and tropes of Old Hollywood gangster movies. I don't think he really cares much about Ness, Capone, or the issues they raise. When Scorsese makes a movie, there is rarely any doubt that he feels the characters and the themes deep in his heart and his balls. But do I think De Palma really cares about how the "untouchable" Ness gradually breaks every law and principle he once swore to uphold in his pursuit of Capone? Dear reader, I do not. I think there's a hollowness at this movie's core.

Flawless cinematography and production design. Hall-of-fame musical score by Ennio Morricone. The scene with the baby cart is deservedly iconic. Kudos to De Palma for filling out the 2.35:1 frame even though he knew this would just be brutally panned-and-scanned for video. Sean Connery is fun but no I do not think he deserved the Oscar.

Will liked this review