Find the list here: The Top 250 Films List Total Films Watched: 250/250

Monday, 28 January 2013

#249 - 'The Untouchables' (1987)

"You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way! And that's how you get Capone." - Jim Malone.
In the days of 1930's prohibition, 'The Untouchables' follows Treasury Agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) and his self-assembled team in their attempts to bring the notorious Mob boss Al Capone (Robert De Niro) to justice. Chicago was rife with the trade of illegal alcohol. An unsuccessful raid on a building used by suspected bootleggers left Ness having to do things his own way. Capone's informants were always one step ahead of the Police so Ness brings together an elite team of 'Untouchables' that he knows he can trust. A veteran cop who walks the beat, Jim Malone (Sean Connery); his accountant Oscar Wallace (Charles Martin Smith) and the best shooter from the Police's very own academy, George Stone (Andy Garcia). Discovering Capone's tax evasion, the team work to try and find enough evidence to bring Capone down in court. 
The 'Untouchables'
There was some top notch acting and Ennio Morricone's score added to the drama and feel of the time. Malone was the older head, giving Ness valuable advice. Connery was a great screen presence once I got over the accent, which feelsh shlightly out of playshe in nineteen-thirtysh Shicargo. Then again, it would be weird to hear Connery sound any different. De Niro's Capone was intimidating, intense and ruthless, culminating in the infamous baseball bat scene. Costner gave a good performance as Ness and received top billing for the film. I think Connery and De Niro were both better, but Costner was believable as the concerned family man cop. However that is a somewhat generic role that has been done to death which is probably why the other two stood out more.
Strike one. Capone at the bat.
I felt the film petered out a little, with most of the drama and action taking place in the second act, leaving the third act in the courtroom feeling like it was missing something. The shootout scene in the train station with the baby's carriage was the most dramatic set piece, possibly placed a little too early as all that followed didn't really match up to that tension. I liked the little back reference quote involving Malone and Ness. At their first meeting on the bridge, Malone dishes out some of his invaluable veteran cop advice: "You just fulfilled the first rule of law enforcement: make sure when your shift is over you go home alive. Here endeth the lesson." In the courtroom scene later on, Capone shouts at Ness, "Get out, you're nothing but a lot of talk and a badge" to which Ness retorts"Here endeth the lesson" before walking away like a boss. Nice.
Two 'Untouchables' and a Baby.
Here endeth the review.

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I love a good reference. This film challenge will open up a whole new world of references for me. there will be so many in-jokes and spoofs I will understand after watching films I've not seen before. 'The Untouchables' contains a few, so this post will be the first to include this new section at the bottom, helpfully called: 'Reference!'. It will include all of the references I now get. (Being honest, I think the majority of them will be from The Simpsons...)


1. The Simpsons - Rex Banner.

Rex Banner is drafted into to find the Beer Baron after prohibition is enforced in Springfield. Banner's appearance is based on Costner's Eliot Ness.

Appears in "Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment"
- Series 8, Episode 18.

2. The Simpsons - Fat Tony.

"I want the mayor dead. I want his wife dead. I want his cat and his dog dead."

A more family friendly reference to Capone's quote: 
"I want you to get this fuck where he breathes! I want you to find this nancy-boy Eliot Ness, I want him dead! I want his family dead! I want his house burned to the ground! I wanna go there in the middle of the night and I wanna piss on his ashes!"

From "Mayored to the Mob" - Series 10, Episode 9

3. House. 

Dr. House imitates Sean Connery's Malone with a direct quote: "He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue." 

From "Let Them Eat Cake" - Series 5, Episode 10.

4. Indiana Jones.
"Nice try, kid, but I think you just brought a knife to a gunfight."

References Malone's quote to the intruder in his house: 
"Isn't that just like a wop? Brings a knife to a gun fight." 

From "Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." 
The less said about that, the better...

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