Brian De Palma's strikingly authentic re-creation of 1930s gangster films and Prohibition-era Chicago is dominated by the performance of Best Supporting Actor Oscar-winner Sean Connery as Jim Malone. Malone's mentorship of Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner), guiding him from his initial, Dudley Do Right-esque altruism to a more grimly realistic law-enforcement agent, gives the film its emotional anchor. Costner's white-bread Ness and De Niro's grandiose Capone pale in comparison to the charismatic Connery. Ennio Morricone's lush score and Stephen H. Burum's classy, high-gloss cinematography may romanticize the oft-gruesome violence, but both are well-suited to the approach taken by screenwriter David Mamet, who attempts to raise the pulp features from the original TV drama to high art. The film climaxes in a Union Station shoot-out that is De Palma's stylish homage to the "Odessa steps" sequence in director Sergei Eisenstein's seminal Battleship Potemkin.
by Dan Jardine review