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The Untouchables (1987)
DePalma at the top of his game.
Legendary director Howard Hawks once defined a great movie as three great scenes and no bad scenes. The Untouchables has zero bad scenes and contains at least four sensational scenes: The first-person point of view shot of the killer stalking Malone, Al Capone's baseball speech, the continuous shot leading up to the elevator killings, and, of course, the train station scene. DePalma expertly ratchets up the tension in this scene and keeps you buzzing with anticipation right through to the final gunshot. This is film-making of the highest artistry. The cinematography and the set-up of shots throughout this film are often breathtaking.
There are strong performances from everyone. Kevin Costner is note-perfect as Eliot Ness, particularly in conveying his inner struggle over whether or not he should kill Frank Nitti. Robert DeNiro displays marvelous intensity in his every scene. Sean Connery bites into a meaty role and walks away with a best supporting actor Oscar. Charles Martin Smith is terrific as the accountant and Andy Garcia's rookie sharpshooter leaves a lasting impression.
The great Ennio Morricone delivers a memorable score that heightens the dramatic impact of scene after scene. Everything about this movie is masterful. It clearly deserved best picture and best director academy award nominations, but was snubbed in both categories. None of the five movies that were nominated over it currently have a higher IMDb rating. This is no accident. The Untouchables was the best film of the year.