Mr. Untouchable movie poster
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Mr. Untouchable movie poster

Mr. Untouchable Movie Review

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It's Thursday night, and Mr. Untouchable comes out tomorrow in limited theaters. Having just watched the fictional We Own the Night, about New York drug dealers, I guess I'm on a drug fix because Mr. Untouchable is a documentary that looks at the rise and eventual fall of Nicky Barnes, a druggie who turned into a Harlem kingpin in the 1970's.

The documentary, directed by Marc Levin, includes a lot of interviews with various people who were around at the time, including known associates, cops and and even Leroy "Nicky" Barnes himself. Guided by his own "confessions", Mr. Untouchable is a surprisingly in-depth look at a world that rarely gets such an honest treatment. We're used to dramatized drug stories and other documentaries, but rarely do films actually get a hold of the leader and get him to talk so freely.

Levin does a good job of piecing all of the interviews together and making a cohesive, rise-and-fall story, but unfortunately it's not quite good enough to win any awards. This is a film that if done right could have really been an eye-popper, but Levin keeps it simple. It won't be an award contender, but simple is fine as he gets the point across and lets Barnes lead the discussion into what appealed to him (I'm thinking money, sex and drugs, what do you think?) and where he made mistakes. It's an interesting piece of nonfiction.

A year from now, I probably won't even remember this film ever existed, but Mr. Untouchable is a relatively engaging, in-depth look at drug dealers. You'll rarely find a film that gets direct access to the source of it all, and that has to be worth something.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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