“Never stop fighting ‘til the fight is done!”
In 1987, Brian De Palma and iconic key collaborators including spitfire screenwriter David Mamet and legendary composer Ennio Morricone, set out to realize a historical crime epic like none other. De Palma is a larger than life director known to embrace bold stylistic choices, Mamet writes dialogue that comes out of some kind of curse-laden meta-reality, and Morricone’s score contains in itself a storybook quality, that every moment is deliberately crafted to dramatize history, to realize a respectful spectacle.
Based on the 1957 autobiographical memoir of the same name, THE UNTOUCHABLES is the Al Capone story from the perspective of Federal Agent Eliot Ness. Ness (Kevin Costner), whose spirited mission to subdue the notorious bootlegger’s stranglehold on Chicago became an all-consuming obsession, is depicted as a moral, if thankless, task. However, the bravery, courage, and commitment displayed by Ness and his team of “Untouchables” is itself a kind of modern lore, a story of a few men who fought (and beat) the odds. De Palma’s envisioning of American history orchestrates it like a fable.
THE UNTOUCHABLES is, at its heart, a profoundly melodramatic and operatic movie. Grandiosity is on display, the camera sweeps in from above or from below, every period at the end of a scene’s paragraph is a stunning wide shot, as in its explosive beginning. With Robert De Niro as Al Capone, Sean Connery as Jim Malone, and Andy Garcia as Agent George Stone, THE UNTOUCHABLES is a star-studded, well-rounded vision of our past, a testament to the work of true heroes whose work lives on in deed and 70mm.
Men and women like Ness worked their lives to selfless ends and often paid an unfair price for their victories. Importantly, these people rarely viewed themselves as heroes or champions of men. Rather, they are simply individuals with a moral certitude about what is right, what is just, and what must be done, for to do otherwise would be to compromise personal and professional ethics. Their fate is ultimately for history to decide. De Palma’s melodrama and willfully elegant frame for action (not the least of which is the infamous homage to Eisenstein’s BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN) acknowledges the gravity of their actions and so writes the history of, in this case, men who could not write it themselves.
Ness, in particular, died early in life – at age 54, due to a heart attack. He spent his life busting corrupt cops, cracking down on bootleggers, standing up for what he thought was right and never falling victim to the pressure to take bribes or otherwise give in, morally. To my mind, that’s the best that anyone can do – to always remain true to themselves.
To see such a film not only on the big screen, but also on glorious 70mm is the type of rare cinematic experience that only the Alamo Drafthouse is lucky enough to showcase. Our Drafthouse Beverage Director Bill Norris will provide signature themed cocktails!
Come to the Drafthouse and get Capone the “Alamo way,” in bright and beautiful 70mm!
Tickets are on sale now, with three play dates -- one each on Jan. 26th, 27th, and 28th! (Sam Prime)