Somewhere between the grit and the opera lies 'The Untouchables', a self-serious mob pic in any other hands, but with De Palma it's a gloriously over-the-top throwback. The set-pieces elevate the hokey American goodness of its worst tendency to celebrate the glorified gangsters of Ness and co., but Mamet and DP see the hypocrisy; prohibition allowed insidious self-mythologising in both Capone and the "untouchables".
Brian de Palma is one of my favorite directors, but when the system get is finger, all the good elements in he's cinema are just merely a caricature. Of course the second police killing is good, with a camera walking around the house (or even before, just across the windows), but Obsession did it too, but with rhythm, all the pieces combine. You don't have rhythm, just gags, like the one when police became cavalry.
This was fetid from the first second, with the acting chops of that little girl who gets blown up. How did De Palma make something so clunky and cliché? 2 stars because of the Odessa/Union Station shoot-out (big surprise!) But... Kevin Costner, just like... you were AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS ALREADY! Just give the stroller a shove away from the steps! Jesus dude. There's a baby in there.
Everything works here, from Mamet's simple, solid script to De Palma's elegant direction. I love the train station scene, with Andy Garcia saving the day. Coster's change from good-hearted idealist to real world cop provides momentum and a summary to the story. Big time filmmaking for sure when Armani designs the clothes...
The whole shebang on this movie only stated that nobody is untouchable, not even big time gangsters. Some scenes are just monstrously absurd clichés yet I have to say Sean Connery wins and I really enjoyed the batter up part as well the first person camera while hunting Malone in his house. Not just thrilling but fear of losing him too. Nonetheless Kevin Costner looked like it was doing some act on Cirque du Soleil.
Wins in cinematography, loses in everything else. A half-assed crowdpleaser (not a good word, by the way) with incredible cardboard-like characters, and a dreadful overacted cartoon-like Capone. Stunted emotional content, ridiculously predictable plot, and the reference to Battleship Potemkin is just lazy. Lacks spirit and passion.