Friday, June 3, 2016

The Untouchables (1987)

The Untouchables (1987)

The Metrograph in NYC is showing a Brian De Palma series, showcasing 28 out of his 29 full length films. Brian De Palma is one of my favorite directors, having directed 4 films I would rate a 9 out of 10, which include Carrie, Phantom Of The Paradise, Dressed To Kill and Body Double. He has many other very good films, including Sisters, Scarface and Hi Mom. He also has about 14 movies I have not seen yet, so this is my chance to see as many of them as I can make time for, so expect to see me reviewing all the ones I have missed or skipped due to disinterest. Nothing I like more than rounding out the catalogue of films I have yet to see of a particular director, especially one held in such high esteem.

The Untouchables is one that I missed when it first came out. I knew it was very popular, and held in high esteem with many, so I was hoping to get another great Brian De Palma film to go on my list of ones I love. Sadly that was not to be.

Kevin Costner landed the lead in this movie, which is what helped him become a very popular leading man for a good 7 years until Waterworld ruined his career. Sean Connery won his only Oscar for his performance in this movie as well. So I was expecting this to be pretty good, especially since De Palma used Robert De Niro to play Al Capone as well.

So I am ready to see a gritty, realistic, rough crime drama about some things that actually happened in Chicago a long time ago, and what I end up with is a slightly silly, over the top, almost comic book like story about good versus evil.

At times the acting is good, though sometimes a bit over the top. But sometimes it’s bad, like so bad it’s shocking. There are some ridiculous scenes which defy nature, and I don’t want to spoil anything but it gets really crazy for a moment.

They also took artistic license to the extreme, changing most historical facts and personalities of the people they were portraying in the movie. I get this is a movie, not a documentary on the History channel, but it would have been nicer if this had stuck more to what happened.

For all my complaints, the movie isn’t horrible, it’s OK in the grand scheme of things. It is shot well, they did a great job of recreating 1930’s Chicago, and some of the scenes work well and are exciting.

One note about the music in this film. It was done by the great Ennio Morricone, who normally I love, but not in this film. I do not know why, but usually there are two types of scores. The ones that blend in with the movie so well you don’t notice them, they become part of the movie. Then there are the ones that stand out, so much so you find yourself humming themes when you leave the theater. That’s more rare, but pretty amazing. Then there is the third type of score you don’t want to think about, the type that stands out in a terrible way. Like, where you notice it above the movie, then start to think while the movie is playing, “why are they using this music here?” I had that happen multiple times during this film. It’s not like I think the music itself is bad, it just doesn’t fit with what we were watching. It made me sad since I love the composer.

Anyways, all in all this was just an average film, entertaining enough, but nothing special for me.

7 out of 10 stars.