47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good versus Evil in a deadly dance of operatic proportions.
Sometimes dubbed "the Master of the Macabre," director Brian De Palma is best known for his enactments of the supernatural ("Carrie"), mania ("Dressed to Kill") - and his mob stories. The latter part of his reputation is primarily grounded on four of his movies from the ten-year period between 1983 and 1993: "Scarface" (1983, starring Al Pacino), "Wise Guys" (1986,...
Published on March 6, 2004 by Themis-Athena
95 of 134 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Where's the Beef?
What kind of incompetent nutbag puts out a classic like this on DVD without 1 single extra feature. Come on.. Where's the bonus material? Where's the Commentary, Deleted Scenes, etc? It's not like Kevin Costner is too busy doing other movies! There should be a law against putting out DVD's that only contain the movie without extra stuff. It's not only a waste of valuable...
Published on November 19, 2000 by Heck Colorado
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good versus Evil in a deadly dance of operatic proportions.,
Sometimes dubbed "the Master of the Macabre," director Brian De Palma is best known for his enactments of the supernatural ("Carrie"), mania ("Dressed to Kill") - and his mob stories. The latter part of his reputation is primarily grounded on four of his movies from the ten-year period between 1983 and 1993: "Scarface" (1983, starring Al Pacino), "Wise Guys" (1986, starring Danny De Vito, Joe Piscopo and Harvey Keitel), "Carlito's Way" (1993, again starring Pacino) ... and "The Untouchables" (1987), featuring an all-star cast including Robert De Niro, Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Andy Garcia and Charles Martin Smith. Among these, "The Untouchables" stands out as the only movie not primarily told from the gangster's but from the lawmen's perspective - but what it does share with all of De Palma's works is an almost voyeuristic appeal to its audience's visual senses; going far beyond the lavish display of film blood it is most often cited for.
Less fact-based than cinematic grand opera par excellence, the movie takes as its premise the end of the career of Chicago's ganglord of ganglords, Al "Scarface" Capone, who (after a few half-hearted attempts to prosecute him for murder had failed due to the unavailability of witnesses) pled guilty, in 1931, to evading federal income tax, and was sentenced to an 11-year prison term and a $50,000 fine. Capone's downfall was brought about by a group of initially 50 but later only nine Treasury Agents, formed in 1929 (not in 1930, as suggested here) with the express purpose of breaking up his operations, and headed by Eliot Ness, whose 1957 book "The Untouchables" posthumously gave new rise to his fame - Ness died of a heart attack without ever having witnessed the full extent of his book's success - and inspired, inter alia, the like-named 1959 television series starring Robert Stack and Brian De Palma's 1987 movie.
Scripted by Pulitzer Prize winner and Chicago native David Mamet ("Glengarry Glen Ross"), "The Untouchables" is not so much a study in character development as based on a western's classic "good versus evil" setup; although that doesn't mean that its protagonists are two-dimensional in any way. On the contrary: Robert De Niro imbues his Capone with a ruthlessness and glib charm very likely matching those of the real "Scarface," who was known for his little hesitation to commit murder and other acts of violence as much as he cultivated a reputation as a savvy businessman and benefactor of the poor, for example by running several soup kitchens. (And yes, all of De Niro's mannerisms are on full display, too; but rarely have they fitted a role as well as here.) Kevin Costner's Eliot Ness may be a little too assertive - Robert Stack once commented, after several conversations with Ness's nearest and dearest, that the real-life Treasury Agent had been described to him as "rather soft-spoken, but very effective and brave" - but mildness is certainly not the principle trait written into the larger-than-life role of the man who "got" Al Capone, and Costner *is* an effective lead; although he is matched (not entirely sidelined, but darn near outplayed) by Sean Connery, who deservedly won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a National Board of Review Award as the crotchety old-timer Malone who has seen it all, somehow managed to stay both clean and alive, and now lets Ness talk him into becoming his tutor in all things Chicago Gangland. Andy Garcia, in his break-through role, is instantly likable as George Stone, the smart, fast kid from the South Side who doesn't take kindly to put-downs of his origin but can nail a human target with one hand while lying down and holding a baby stroller with the other hand. Charles Martin Smith finally brings humanity and subtle humor to the character probably closest to the real-life "Untouchables," accountant Oscar Wallace, who first has the idea to charge Capone for income tax evasion. Strong performances by Billy Drago as Capone's right-hand man Frank Nitti (who of course was not really thrown off a rooftop by Ness), Richard Bradford as Police Chief Mike Dorsett, Patricia Clarkson as Ness's wife, Jack Kehoe as Capone's bookkeeper Walter Payne and others round out an altogether impressive cast.
Unmistakeably scored by Ennio Morricone (whose style often, and certainly here, doesn't even take a full bar to recognize; and who with an ASCAP Award, a Grammy and a BAFTA Award was the movie's other major winner besides Connery), "The Untouchables" lives off its splendid cinematography, production design - costumes courtesy of Giorgio Armani - and the exquisite timing of its sharp-edged dialogue and editing: Not only is screenwriter Mamet known to have his actors practice their lines according to a metronome; the editing of some of the movie's most memorable scenes has the distinct feeling of a carefully choreographed, veritable ballet. This is particularly true for Malone's death, pointedly set against the aria "Vesti la Giubba" from Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera "I Pagliacci" ("The Clowns"), which is based on a real-life murder and which Capone attends while his lieutenants waylay Malone in his own apartment; and the famous shoot-out in Chicago's Union Station, which turns into a deadly dance of bullets, blood and a baby stroller, shot almost entirely in slow motion.
Paradoxically, the one plot element this movie is most often criticized for - the jury switch at Capone's trial - is one of the few facts that actually did take place (although Capone's attorney would have had to be given the right to conduct a new voir dire). But ultimately, it doesn't even really matter how much of the plot is fact-based and how much fiction: Even if "The Untouchables" doesn't quite reach the mythical status of the "Godfather" trilogy - particularly its Parts 1 and 2 - as the mob movie to end all mob movies, it is one of only a handful other films that at least come close to the proportions of Francis Ford Coppola's epic masterpiece.
Eliot Ness and the Untouchables: The Historical Reality and the Film and Television Depictions
Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone
Casino (Widescreen 10th Anniversary Edition)
Once Upon a Time in America (Two-Disc Special Edition)
The Godfather DVD Collection (The Godfather/ The Godfather - Part II/ The Godfather - Part III)
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Paramount "Touched" the Untouchables,
I've always been a big fan of this movie, which I remember as first marking Brian DePalma as a "blockbuster" director. It's filled with sharp dialog, Oscar winning acting, some inspired (clearly by Hitchcock) camerawork, a dramatic score by Ennio Morricone, and a nostaglic/patriotic retelling of a truly gritty real-life crime drama.
As far as this blu-ray goes, it features a very nice transfer that ups the detail, contrast, color and stability considerably over the previous DVD release. Unfortunately it also introduces nearly constant edge halos and some shimmering - both presumably artifacts of edge enhancement used to make the film look more appealing to modern audiences.
On the Audio front the 6.1 DTS-HD track does a very fine job considering the age of the film. I was particularly impressed by the dynamic range of the score and the use of discrete effects in the Union Station shootout.
Overall, if it were not for the digital retouching, I would have rated this release at 5 stars. Since I can't give 4 and a half I had to downgrade it full star for the botched digital enhancements.
Hopefully someday there will be a untouched version of The Untouchables.
29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flamboyant Tribute to the Chicago Mob,
This isn't a documentary style film - it's a gorgeous, over-the-top retelling of one of the most famous periods in America's history. Al Capone and Eliot Ness are well known, as is the Chicago in which they lived. De Niro and Connery are fantasic in their roles, and the cinematography is beautiful. Costner as Ness also shines, but with these other two powerhouses his performance is almost overshadowed.
Great plot, great dialogue, great action, the movie is definitely a fun romp through an appealing period in history. The movie has even more significance as The Sopranos becomes a huge hit - people being drawn into learning about the mob way of life want to trace the roots of this drama and see where it's taking its guidance. Many Sopranos scenes are taken from this movie, and the characters even quote it at times.
Highly recommended - a DVD you'll watch many times over!
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Effective and entertaining. The all-star cast delivers!,
What do you expect from a film in which Kevin Costner and Sean Connery star as the good guys and Robert DeNiro plays all-time Bad Guy Al Capone? A great movie! And that's what this is--a really really good gangster flick. No, it is not The Godfather, but then again nothing but The Godfather is The Godfather. Having said that, this is a wonderful film that actually does a pretty good job of explaining what Elliot Ness was up against when he was given the job of enforcing prohibition, gunning for Al Capone and cleaning up Chicago.
Costner is effective in his role as Elliot Ness. Connery does fine as the Chicago policeman Ness recruits to show him the ropes as to how things in Chicago operate. De Niro is matchless as Al Capone.
My favorite scene is the one in which Elliot Ness joins forces with the Canadian Mounties. Hilarious!
This movie is good entertainment and the storyline manages to move along pretty well without dragging and losing the viewer's interest. The film never makes the mistake of taking itself too seriously, and its use of humor is effective and prevents the movie from waxing pompous, which would have been easy for it to do, given the serious theme. This is one that you'll watch again and again. Recommended.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ISF reference quality HD DVD - reviewed on a properly calibrated Runco 1080p three chip DLP,
This review is from: The Untouchables (Collector's Edition) [HD DVD] (HD DVD)
A must own HD DVD - disregard reviews that mention "edge enhancements" - those are faults on reviewers systems - this disc will provide a more detailed view than even the original judder-ridden commercial film stock. We use chapter 22 as a demo and are delighted - we will use this at CES 2008 to show what great 1080p HDTVs are capable of delivering.
Our compliments to Paramount Home Entertainment for a superb technical efffort that this film so well deserves.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu ray worth the upgrade,
I was really impressed with the blu ray transfer of this movie. Sometimes with older movies you have to do a side by side comparison to realize the improvement, but for The Untouchables it was clear to me right away that it was an upgrade. The movie looks so good that it's easy to forget that it is 23 years old. This movie was also shot in a way where the blu ray treatment really helps e.g. a lot of closeups of faces and a nice use of color (I compared the scene outside the hotel when the bellboy picks the papers off the red carpet and was pretty amazed at how much "redder" the red was on blu ray).
The sound seemed like it was improved, but I am not enough of a sound expert to know for sure. There are also some extras on here, but I don't know if it's anything that's groundbreaking.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Downfall of Al Capone...,
This review is from: The Untouchables (Special Collector's Edition) (DVD)
Mafia movies have long been profitable ventures for Hollywood executives, which is why every few years or so another mob movie is released to theaters, and 9 times out of 10 the movie is a success. Some entries into this genre aren't as good as others some examples would be "Boss of Bosses", "Billy Bathgate", or "Mobsters". But these subpar efforts are massively overshadowed by the resounding success of movies like "The Godfather", "Goodfellas", "The Departed", and "The Untouchables". The latter is the film I am choosing to review here having just watched it again for the 5th time in my life (I know that doesn't sound like much, but if you would see my DVD collection you'd understand).
"The Untouchables" focuses on the story of Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner) and his efforts to bring down the reigning mob boss of Chicago during the 1930's, Al Capone (Robert De Niro). After the government initiated prohibition, a move that basically gave the mafia even greater power over the people, Al Capone is essentially running the city of Chicago to the point that some feel he should even run for mayor of the city. The government knows Capone needs to be stopped, so that his reign of madness and bloodshed can finally be brought to an end, but the problem is Capone owns so many high ranking city and government officials that it's virtually impossible for anyone to stand a chance against him. That is until an idealistic federal agent named Elliot Ness decides its time for Capone to be put away for good, and he will stop at nothing to see this happen. To assist Ness in this endeavor is an old beat cop named Malone (Sean Connery), a federal accountant (Charles Martin Smith), who believes he can get Capone for tax evasion, and a cop-in-training named Stone (Andy Garcia). Together these men might stand a chance of accomplishing the one thing that no one else has been able to do, bring down the seemingly all-powerful Al Capone, and cripple his mafia empire.
Both critics and audiences agreed, "The Untouchables" was a true gangland masterpiece, that takes you from the mean streets of Chicago to the mountainous United States-Canadian border, while never letting go of your attention for even a second. Director Brian De Palma ("Scarface" and "Mission: Impossible") engages you with this epic story of good versus evil that is so brilliantly crafted that it rivals "The Godfather" in terms of its treatment of the material and the accuracy of the performances. The entire cast is excellent from Kevin Costner to Sean Connery, De Niro's perfect performance is the biggest surprise as he brings to shocking reality the ferocity of the mob boss that ruled Chicago with an iron fist.
If you're a fan of mafia movies in the vein of "The Godfather" or "Goodfellas", or are a history buff that is interested in seeing the downfall of one of America's most powerful mob bosses, then you will definitely enjoy "The Untouchables".
"The Untouchables" is rated R for violence and language.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, One Of The Best Mob Movies Ever,
For a solid mix of action, drama and thrills, "The Untouchables" delivers like few movies can. Thanks to a fantastic cast, great story and a solid script, this is one of the most entertaining movies you will ever see in your life.
Taking place in prohibition-era Chicago, top kingpin Al Capone (Robert De Niro) has brought a wave of crime and corruption to the city. Determined to bring him down is federal agent Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner). When a bad sting makes him the laughing stock of the town, he considers giving up. Until he receives help from aging police officer Jim Malone (the one and only Sean Connery), who gives him the will to continue. Working as allies along with Ness's two partners (Charles Martin Smith and Andy Garcia), Ness and Malone tear apart at Capone's empire. The film has many an exciting sequence, most famously the train station showdown near the end.
This film is brilliant on all counts. Costner imbues the character of Ness with the perfect lvel of charisma and heroicism. I really don't know why everyone ahtes on his performance, I think he's great. De Niro puts on one of his most underrated performances as Capone, capturing the mob legend to a T. Charles Martin Smith and Andy Garcia provide ample support as Ness's men, especially Garcia. But the best is by far Connery. Connery is the heart and soul of this movie. Connery is one of cinema's true legends, and he proves it in this film. As Malone, he provides humor, toughness, presence, and so much more that the film would've suffered greatly without him. He deservedly won an Oscar for this.
"The Untouchables" is absolutely excellent and is worth owning. A must have for all film fans.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good transfer of a mobster movie,
This review is from: Untouchables [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This review is for the blu-ray transfer and not the film itself. The blu-ray version of The Untouchables is quite good. It boasts excellent detail and strong blacks in night shots. There is very little film grain. On the negative side, certain indoor scenes look just a bit washed out; they would have benefitted from more color saturation. This did have the (unintended?) effect of making the film appear older, which actually worked well, since the movie was set in the early 1930s. The sound was clear for the most part, although there were some scattered scenes were it sounded muffled, like the character was speaking into a can. Nevertheless, I was quite pleased with this blu-ray.
I recommend this film. If you are considering an upgrade from DVD, it is worth it.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Blu-Ray Disc,
Well. we all know the film is a masterpeice.
But the question was, is the Blu-Ray a good quality enough?
I just received and saw the film and I am totally satisfied.
The sound and picture are almost like 2008 Blu-Ray.
The sound include 5.1 EX and DTS-ES which is way better than True HD sound or PCM uncompressed, in my opinion.
The picture is nearly perfect. Even the night scenes, there's almost no bleeding or spots.
Great Blu-ray disc.
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The Untouchables (Special Collector's Edition) by Brian De Palma (DVD - 2004)