By Dan Skip Allen
In the roaring '20s, gangsters ruled with an iron fist. The law had no ground to stand on. In Chicago, Al Capone (Robert De Niro) was the man in charge of all the criminal activities. He did this under the auspices of a legitimate business. Prohibition was the rule of the land at this time. Capone didn't like this and he kept doing his illegal things despite the laws prohibiting them. Elliott Ness and his men tried to stand in his way despite opposition to the contrary.
Ness (Kevin Costner) is a treasury officer. He has been tasked with taking down Capone by any means necessary. The problem is the police are on Capone's payroll. Any time he gets close to making a bust, the criminals have already cleared out or gotten word that Ness is sniffing around. Ness needs to find some honest good trustworthy cops to help him break through the red tape. He finds one guy named Jim Malone (Sean Connery) who is an honest cop who has the in on some of the illegal activities going on in the city. They recruit a young man from the Academy as well, George Stone (Andy Garcia).
Sean Connery's Malone has some great quotes in this film. He's the only one who knows what it takes to get Capone. That's why he won an Academy Award in 1988 for his role in The Untouchables. He was great in this film. Even though he made a name for himself as James Bond, films like this, The Presidio, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade are the films that show his real acting ability.
Kevin Costner started coming into his own around this time in his career. Field of Dreams and Bull Durham both were successes with fans and critics alike, but his role as Elliott Ness in The Untouchables was his breakout role. Sure he had small roles in The Big Chill, American Flyers, and plenty of other films. The Untouchables showed he had range as an actor. It didn't hurt that he had a great script by David Mamet and direction from Brian De Palma to help him out.
Gangster films have been some of the best films since The Godfather Films. Scorsese's take in Goodfellas and Casino, Bugsy, Scarface have all tackled the gangster genre, but none have gone the route of looking at gangster films from the point of the police like The Untouchables has. De Palma, Mamet, and company have made a great film about this tumultuous time in U.S. history anchored by a great performance from Sean Connery as Jim Malone, the man who swore to uphold the law no matter what it takes.
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