🎥🍣 Movie Sushi — The Untouchables

AdGridley
6 min readMar 20, 2022

Alphonse Capone’s having a shave and a manicure while someone’s shining his shoes. He’s also fielding questions from the press. It’s 1930. Chicago gangs violently compete for control of the city’s billion dollar empire of illegal alcohol.

Capone sees himself as an opportunistic businessman. He was taught you can get further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word. He disavows violence in his name. It’s not good business.

The owner of a corner store refuses to buy second rate illegal liquor. A ten year old girl innocently tries returning a briefcase to the man leaving. The resulting explosion destroys the entire store. The press blame it on the beer war.

Eliot Ness, Special Agent of the Treasury Department has heard that a large shipment of Canadian whisky has arrived in Chicago. An armoured snow plough flanked with officers drives right through the warehouse gates. Ness arrests everyone. Inside a crate, he finds only a green umbrella.

That night, when beat cop, Malone, asks why Ness is wearing a gun, he says he’s a Treasury Officer. Malone leaves, but Ness asks why he just turned his back on an armed man, then apologises, he’s had a rough day on the job.

A butler carries breakfast and bookkeeper’s statement up to the penthouse suite of the Lexington Hotel. Capone’s propped-up in bed, puffing on a cigar. The headline reads “Crusader Cop Busts Out”.

Oscar Wallace from the Washington Bureau introduces himself. He says Capone hasn’t filed an income tax return since 1926.

Confident of Malone’s integrity, Ness visits his apartment. Malone needs to know what Ness is prepared to do to bring down Capone. If Capone pulls a knife, he should pull a gun. Capone sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way. That’s how to get Capone.

George Stone’s consistently the best shot of the class and he’s unmarried. Ness and Malone learn he’s from the Southside, then Malone demands Stone’s real name. Stone finally says Giuseppe Petri. Malone offers racist abuse and Stone soon holds Malone at gunpoint, reacting with racist abuse of his own. Ness and Malone then welcome Stone to the Treasury Department.

Malone wants to go on a liquor raid. The problem isn’t finding the booze, the problem is crossing Capone. They break down the door and dozens of workers are under arrest, the booze impounded. Malone always carries with him his callbox key and Saint Jude — the Patron Saint of Lost Causes …and policemen.

Capone says a man should have enthusiasms, like baseball. Alone at the plate, it’s the time for individual achievement. But in the field, he’s part of a team. He’s no-one unless the team wins. Capone then fatally attacks a seated man.

John O’Shea drops an envelope filled with cash onto Ness’s desk. Ness refuses it. O’Shea says Ness is causing dismay to a large and popular business. O’Shea should tell Capone he’ll see him in hell.

That night, Frank Nitti, a Capone soldier, says Ness should make sure nothing happens to his family. Ness’s family are quickly relocated. There’s a big international shipment coming in.

Capone’s making over $3m per year but he’s paid no taxes. If they can establish any payments to him at all, they can prosecute him for income tax evasion. Although he’s a murderer, it’s better than nothing.

Ness’s team and some Canadian police are watching a bridge between the US and Canada. Five to ten trucks full of Canadian whisky will be met by a high level member of the Capone organisation. Ness wants to confiscate the liquor and the cash.

Then, unprompted, the Mountie captain opens fire, yelling “Charge”. The dealers see the Mounties coming and soon, everybody’s shooting. Ness and Malone attack a car. Ness still fires on it from a prone position. The car stops, after having driven directly over him.

Wallace unloads on the people who just shot Stone. Out of ammo, he uses the butt of his gun instead. He happens upon a leaking barrel of whisky and discreetly has a sip.

Ness chases another man back to the hut. He throws a grenade on the roof, which rolls across it and explodes on the floor the other side. Ness bursts in, then has to kill the man. Ness is furious he was forced to do this, throwing his gun down in disgust.

Malone makes money man George sit. Wallace discovers he has a book detailing lots of money changing hands. George is dismissive. If any of the coded entries indicates payment to Capone, they can put him away.

George remains hostile. Malone then gets the man Ness just killed and pretends he’s still alive. He holds the corpse at gunpoint, counting to three.

When the dead man’s brains are splatted all over the window, George wants to talk. But, he’s forbidden from cleaning himself till after he’s talked.

Capone’s furious when he hears Ness intercepted his whisky. Capone now wants Ness dead. He wants his family dead. He wants his house burned to the ground. He wants to desecrate his ashes.

The District Attorney announces that a subpoena was issued for Alphonse Capone for the crime of evading and conspiring to evade Federal Income Tax. Capone faces up to twenty eight years in prison.

The DA commends the excellent work of Eliot Ness and his squad of Untouchables. George pleads with Wallace for continued protection. Then, the lift operator executes both men. Beside the bodies of George and Wallace, daubed in blood on the lift walls, is the word “touchable”.

Ness spots Capone descending the stairs at the Lexington Hotel. He wants a fight with Capone. Capone threatens Ness’s family and Ness reaches for his gun. Several guns are produced by Capone’s men. Malone grabs and contains Ness.

The DA won’t go into court without Capone’s bookkeeper, Walter Payne. Then, Malone has an idea. He finds the Police Chief and tells him he needs to find the bookkeeper, Walter Payne. Malone puts a gun in the Chief’s face and learns what he needs to know.

A man climbs in through Malone’s window, but he’s chased off at gunpoint. Nitti’s waiting outside and riddles Malone with bullets.

Ness and Stone arrive. There’s a long, bloody streak on the hallway floor. Malone manages to tell Ness Payne’s on the indicated train. With his dying words, he shouts what is Ness prepared to do.

At the station, a woman’s struggling with heavy luggage and a crying baby. Ness goes to help her climb the stairs, then recognises Walter Payne and starts shooting.

The baby bounces wildly down the stairs as Ness kills another man. Stone picks off one more at the base of the stairs. Ness wounds another man, exchanging fire with a man behind a pillar. Stone throws Ness a fresh gun while sliding in to cushion the baby’s carriage with his legs.

The man holding Payne hostage knows how important Payne is to Ness’s case. Stone has Payne’s captor sighted. Before he can count to two, Stone shoots him — a perfect headshot.

On the stand, Payne says, in a three year period, he personally disbursed monies to Capone in excess of one and a third million dollars.

Capone yawns, then jokes with his attorney. Capone’s carefree attitude is baffling. Ness notices Nitti wearing a gun in court and has him removed. Outside, Nitti says he has permit for the gun. He’s made to empty his pockets. Sure enough, he has permission for the gun from the Mayor of Chicago.

Ness finds a matchbook with Malone’s home address written on it. Nitti produces his gun. The bailiff draws and Nitti shoots him. Ness chases Nitti. On the roof, Ness rolls off the edge of the building but lives. Then, Ness finds Nitti swinging on a rope below him trying desperately to break through a window.

Nitti starts mocking Ness, who reluctantly pulls Nitti up the rope. But, when Nitti says Malone died like a pig, Ness throws him off the roof.

Stone’s found a jury list in Nitti’s coat proving they’ve all been bribed. Ness asks that he speak to the judge alone. The judge orders the bailiff to switch juries with the neighbouring courtroom. Capone’s attorney objects, but this is overruled.

Ness said the judge was also in the ledger, although he actually wasn’t. Capone stands up, demanding an explanation. The attorney changes the plea of Not Guilty to Guilty.

Capone’s sentenced to eleven years. Stone arrives at Ness’s office and they warmly thank each other. Ness gives Stone Malone’s St Jude.

Outside, a photographer asks Ness for a comment. Ness just happened to be there when the wheel went round. When they repeal prohibition Ness comments that then, he’ll probably have a drink.

Starring Kevin Costner. Sean Connery. Robert De Niro. Rated 15. Dir Brian De Palma. Released in the UK 1987. Runtime 1hr 59mins

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AdGridley

Ad teaches & gives speeches on his MH struggle + recovery at institutions right across the world. (Movie Sushi pieces contain spoilers)