Not only a quick, shallow review, but also will probably be disjointed since I watched this film on my iPad while on my treadmill, over a period of 3 days. Anyway, how did this film get such good press? Full of gangster clichés, Chicago tropes, and populated by Kevin Costner’s usual Bloomingdale’s store mannequin style of acting. There are an insane amount of continuity, factual and editing problems, enough to start me laughing eventually. Even the famous scene, so beloved by News America’s thuggish CEO, Paul Carlucci, doesn’t get explained – if you didn’t know before hand what was going on, you were not informed. Why does De Niro’s Al Capone suddenly start beating his own guy with a baseball bat? Doesn’t seem to be very emblematic of teamwork to me. Were there a couple pages of script that got cut out?
I watched the entire movie, so it wasn’t horrible, but it boggles my mind that The Untouchables allegedly propelled Kevin Costner to film star status.
My Netflix rating: two stars out of five.
As an aside, has Kevin Costner ever been in a good film, a movie where his acting was the essential ingredient? I can’t say I’ve seen one, but then I haven’t ever sat through either of his big films: The Bodygaurd, nor Waterworld. I did watch about 15 minutes of The Bodyguard once on television, but decided I needed to trim my toenails instead of wasting more time with that dreck. Waterworld might be more fun to watch, albeit not in the way Costner intended. Waterworld was famous for a minute for being an expensive flop, full of closeups of Costner’s face, but empty of plot.
Speaking of Waterworld, some fun gossip collected by IMDb…
- It is rumored that director Kevin Reynolds and Kevin Costner had a huge squabble over the film, resulting in Reynolds walking off the project and left Costner to finish it. Reynolds was quoted as saying that “Kevin should only star in movies he directs. That way he can work with his favorite actor and favorite director”.
- The script underwent 36 different drafts which involved six different writers.
- Joss Whedon flew out to the set to do last minute rewrites on the script. He later described it as “seven weeks of hell”.
- The 1,000 ton floating set did not have any restrooms, nor were there any on any of the 30 boats used by the cast and crew. The result was that filming had to halt so those in need could be ferried to a barge anchored near the shore which had several portable toilets on it.
- Widely considered to be one of the biggest box-office bombs of all time. Although it grossed $255 million from a $175 million production budget, this does not factor in marketing and distribution costs, or the percentage of the gross that theaters keep (which is up to 45% of a film’s box office takings). The film came to be nicknamed “Kevin’s Gate” after Heaven’s Gate (1980) and “Fishtar”, after Ishtar (1987), two previous mega bombs.