Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 7th, 2007
BluRay released: July 3rd, 2007
Approximate running time: 119 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen (1080 Progressive)
Sound: DTS 6.1 & Dolby Digital EX 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Digital EX 5.1 Spanish, Dolby Digital Digital EX 5.1 French
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
BluRay Release: Paramount Pictures
Region Coding: Region 0
Retail Price: $28.99
Synopsis: Chicago the 1930’s crime is running rampant in the streets. The town is being run by Al Capone (Robert De Niro) a crime boss who has the local law and all city officials under his thumb. Enter Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner) a government agent who works for the treasury department who has been sent to Chicago to help restore law and order. Ness with the help of his three newly deputized treasury officers they slowly disrupt and pick apart Capone’s empire. Capone not one to ever back down tries to get rid of them before they put him out of business and behind bars.
Over the last thirty years no other filmmaker has caused as much controversy as the films directed Brian De Palma. His films often violent and/or overtly sexual in tone always manage to remain mainstream enough to appeal to audiences not normally ignore these types of subject matter. De Palma’s first foray into the world on organized crime was his 1983 film Scarface a film most remembered for its graphic scenes of torture and sadistic killings and yet the film somehow managed not to connect with an audience. De Palma’s follow up to Scarface 1984’s Body Double a Hitchcock like sexual/thriller that once again saw De Palma being censored by the MPAA. Body Double would also miss finding its audience and De Palma’s 1986 film a return to comedy roots Wise Guys a comedic take on the mafia. After three box office failures in a row De Palma would finally find the film 1987’s The Untouchables that best suited his style and unlike his previous films he would tone down and refine his baroque style.
The Untouchables is one of those rare occasions when everything comes together while making a film. Everything is anchored by David Mamet brilliant screenplay which flawlessly mixes real life character and events with events created out of his vivid imagination. De Palma who always injects copious amounts of style into everything he does achieves a level of artistry with the Untouchables that he has yet to top or recreate since. The cast is loaded with some of the most talented actors who were currently working at the time like Charles Martin Smith, Andy Garcia and Billy Drago playing the quintessential mafia thug. Even Robert De Niro who screen time is limited as Al Capone makes you know of his presence by dominating every moment he is in. The films two leas Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness and Sean Connery as Jim Malone make a superb duo in which Malone the older cop helps steer the younger less experienced Eliot Ness in the direction that is guaranteed to get him the best results.
The action is all well done and there is enough tension in this film to get your blood pressure up and keep it up. One of the films stand out moments is a shoot out at a train station which involves a runaway baby stroller. The most disturbing moment is when Connery’s character Malone puts a gun in a dead mans mouth and pretends he is alive while he blows the dead mans brains out in front of another prisoner. One of the most important factors in the success of The Untouchables is the magnificent score by Ennio Morricone which adds so much to the tone and content of the film. Ultimately The Untouchables is one of the greatest crime films ever made and its reputation only enhances with each new viewing.
Paramount brings The Untouchables in Hi-Def with a solid release that not only carries over all the superb extras included from their special edition DVD they up they surpass all previous home video/DVD releases of The Untouchables with their flawless transfer which boasts details and colors like you have never seen them before.
Extras for this release include a theatrical trailer (in 1080 Progressive), the original Featurette: The Men (5 minutes) and four documentaries: The Script, The Cast (19 minutes), Production Stories (17 minutes), Reinventing the Genre (14 minutes) and The Classic (6 minutes). This is one of the best examples of just how much of difference you gain with a Hi-Def transfer when comparing it to the former standard edition release. The differences between the two are so remarkable that if you are a fan of this film this release is a must buy.