The Untouchables (1987, Directed by Brian De Palma) English 8

Starring Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro, Andy Garcia, Charles Martin Smith, Patricia Clarkson

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(8-Exceptional Film)

Exciting. Slick. Roaring.

Elliot Ness is the man who took down Al Capone. He’s a legend. Brian De Palma and writer, David Mamet, expand the legend in their ultra-entertaining gangster flick, The Untouchables. Ness (Costner) assembles a ragtag crew of cops-the mentor Malone (Connery), young hotshot Stone (Garcia), and meek accountant Wallace (Martin Smith)-¬† to go after Capone (De Niro) and his crooked empire. It’s Wallace’s income-tax idea that ultimately gets the job done. The Untouchables takes several liberties with the story, and Connery takes considerable liberty with the Chicago Irishman accent. In fact, The Untouchables features just about every cop and gangster clich√© you can think of. I say it works for that reason. It’s a fantastic piece of pop entertainment: thrilling, suspenseful, dramatic. I also see a lesson to be learned in Connery’s performance: making no attempt whatsoever to do a realistic accent is less distracting than doing a bad accent. So if you aren’t going to get the accent right (Keanu Reeves in Dracula), then you might as well not even try. I got over his Scottish accent pretty quickly, and he’s awfully charismatic.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-



The Departed (2006, Directed by Martin Scorsese) English 6

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Vera Farmiga, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone

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(6-Good Film)

Flashy. Entertaining. Superficial.

Oscar winning remake of the Chinese Infernal Affairs trilogy, The Departed stars DiCaprio as Billy, a cop gone undercover in local big-shot, mob boss, Frank Costello’s (Nicholson) organization, but Frank has a mole of his own planted in the police department in the form of Colin (Damon). Neither side can seem to get the drop on the other, as a game of cat and mouse begins. Infinitely entertaining premise provides the thrills and suspense, but also an over the top style and hyper-active camera work. Nicholson’s large performance with his profane and crude character is fun to watch, but kept me at a distance in terms of taking the film seriously. I also didn’t like many of the aesthetic choices, including the jarring editing, dutch angles, and screwball delivery. It highlights the film’s lack of depth.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-