Kevin Costner comes off as a bit preppy, a bit wimpy, for the role of Treasury agent Eliot Ness. Maybe he's meant to start out that way, and then gain in stature, but all he gains instead is in number of low camera angles to give him an appearance of enlarged stature. But then it's hard to know what sort of hero would make a proper foil for Robert De Niro's florid Capone — Batman and Robin, maybe? (Sean Connery, as a wryly knowledgeable South Side beat cop, and Ness's adopted tutor, is much too classy for his present company.) There are a few stirring images of shoulder-to-shoulder, all-for-one-and-one-for-all heroism, but the Untouchables themselves seem pitifully shorthanded, at least whenever they don't have a platoon of Canadian Mounties to back them up, and especially after a couple of them have been sent off to operatic deaths. Brian De Palma directs the thing with buckets, barrels, bathtubs of blood, but with an effect more of bathos than toughness. Written by David Mamet; with Charles Martin Smith and Andy Garcia (1987) — Duncan Shepherd
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