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The Untouchables
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Length:1 Hour 59 Minutes
Cast:Brian De Palma, Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Charles Martin Smith

The Prohibition-era reign of mob kingpin Al Capone is dramatized in The Untouchables, a colorful, stylishly violent drama graced with a superb script by David Mamet and flamboyantly directed by Brian De Palma (Scarface). Nominally based on the popular '60s TV show (and even more nominally on the bestselling memoir from which it was adapted), De Palma's film depicts Chicago during the Depression years as a booze-soaked, crime-ridden, hopelessly corrupt city held captive by vicious gangsters and crooked officials. Sincere but naive federal agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner), assigned to find the weak link in Capone's chain of command, handpicks a team of similarly dedicated subordinates, among them streetwise Irish cop Jim Malone (Sean Connery in an Oscar-winning characterization). Robert De Niro contributes a deliberately florid performance as the beefy, swaggering Capone. De Palma dramatizes the events of Ness's campaign with operatic fervor; his movie is less concerned with busting the booze racket than it is with treachery, murder, and retribution. His bravura directorial approach extends to the crafting of action set pieces, especially a climactic train-station shootout that echoes the Odessa Steps sequence in Potemkin. Paramount's DVD includes the original theatrical trailer. Ed Hulse

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