Cinema: In The American Grain THE UNTOUCHABLES

Directed by Brian De Palma; Screenplay by David Mamet

"So much violence," murmurs Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) as he cleans out his desk at the end of The Untouchables.

A truer, sadder sigh has never escaped from a movie sound track. He has, after prodigies of bloodshed and the loss of precious friends and values, fulfilled the classic destiny of a movie hero. Garbed in a mysterious, often near comical purity, he has arrived in a profoundly corrupted community and, by imposing his eerie conscientiousness on it, awakened its conscience. Now the city is at peace, in part because Ness has taken upon himself some of its wickedness. Or, as...