The Untouchables Movie Review


The 1920s also known as the “Roaring 20s" or the “Jazz Era”,was a decade of prosperity and partying. Many Americans in the 1920s lived carefree; Americans partied, drank alcohol, and women started to shorten their hair and dresses. During this time Americans started to own cars, raideos, and telephones for the first time, which grew connections between families. But alas this prosperity and carefree living brought a crash. The Eighteenth Amendment was passed, creating Prohibition. The amendment illegalized the production, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages. Eliot Ness was hired to lead the Chicago prohibition bureau. Ness put together a group of young men who were incorruptible known as "The Untouchables", to take down Al Capone and his gang. In the movie “The Untouchables” based in the 1920s, the lines between good and bad are blurred, the characters in this movie show no mercy, corruption, and selfishness. 

One of the first scenes in the movie is of Al Capone bombing an ice cream shop. Al Capone was a american gangster and businessman. In the movie Capone supplies illegal liquor in Chicago. An ice cream parlor refuses to receive protection from Capone, so Capone bombs the shop. Capone leaves a briefcase containing a bomb at the shop. A little girl saw the forgotten briefcase and while she was running to return the briefcase, it exploded in the little girls hands. This shows how merciless Capone is, after all Capone did bomb and kill innocent people in the parlor, as the parlor refused protection. Capone is not the only one who shows no mercy in the movie, Jim Malone also shows this trait. In the movie Jim is shown shooting one of Capone’s men in the head after he has already died. This is ethically and morally wrong, not to mention he is supposed to play a figure of authority. 

Throughout the movie there are numerous examples of corruption. In the first fifteen minutes of the movie Elliot ness is raiding a wearhouse. Elliot ness and the group of young men get a tip that there will be a big shipment of alcohol that will be in crates marked with a maple leaf. When Ness and the group get to the warehouse to bust the shipment, it seems that someone within the police department has tipped Capone off about the raid giving Capone time to switch the alcohol out with umbrellas. This shows corruption and disloyalty within the police department as someone from inside the police department tipped off Capone.  

Elliot ness is also shown to have some not so good characteristics. Although Ness is the head of the Department he makes some rash decisions. Ness’s temper leads him to make some not so morally right decisions. For example when ness pushes a man off of the roof, as a federal officer Ness should know that that is completely against the laws. Ness also hinders on weather to help the lady with the stroller, up the stairs around the 1 hour 30 minute mark. Ness Ultimately helps the lady with the stroller but lets go of the stroller halfway up the stairs to shoot Capone's men, not thinking about the consequences of letting go of the stroller. Elliot Ness is trying to do the right thing and has good intentions but his rash decision making questions his morals and values. 

Toward the end of the movie Elliot Ness is in court with Al Capone. During this hearing Capone seems to have a relaxed mood when he is clearly guilty. Ness is confused as to why Capone is so smug; Ness then receives a letter from a reporter showing that Capone bribed the jury. Ness takes this to the judge but to his surprise the judge has no intention of using it as evidence and is willing to let Capone free. There's just one problem that would make it seem as though the judge is on Capone’s payroll, revealing his corruption. Therefore, the judge decides to switch this jury with one in another courtroom, to save himself from people thinking he is also corrupt. The right thing for the Judge to do was accept the letter as evidence from when it was brought to his attention, rather than only accepting the letter to save himself. 

The movie “The Untouchables” highlights many ethically wrong morals that Elliot Ness, Al Capone, and other characters have. These morals are brought to light when Capone bombs the ice cream parlor, Ness pushes Nitti off the building; or even when the judge decides to use the letter showing Capone is guilty only to save his own image. There is a line for what is morally and ethically right or wrong but crossing that line is easier then it may seem.

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