Director Brian De Palma sets the tone in a lavish overhead opening shot in which Robert De Niro’s Al Capone professes to be just ‘a businessman’ giving people the product they want. That such business often required violent methods is immediately depicted as prelude to arrival of idealistic law enforcer Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner).
While the dichotomy of values is thus established between these two adversaries, it is the introduction of street cop Jim Malone (Sean Connery) that truly gives the film its momentum.
Connery delivers one of his finest performances. It is filled with nuance, humor and abundant self-confidence. Connery’s depth strongly complements the youthful Costner, who does grow appreciably as Ness overcomes early naivete to become just hard-bitten enough without relinquishing the innocence of his personal life.
De Palma has brought his sure and skilled hand to a worthy enterprise. His signature for this film is an intense scene involving a baby carriage. Filmmakers liken it to the Odessa Steps montage from 1925’s The Battleship Potemkin by Sergei Eisenstein.
1987: Best Supp. Actor (Sean Connery).
Nominations: Best Costume Design, Art Direction, Original Music Score