Starring Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney and Marcia Gay Harden, the film, based on the hard-boiled detective fiction of Dashiell Hammett, has at its centre a violent power struggle, as a new organisation seeks to assert itself on the reigning crime boss’s territory. Caught between these two forces is Byrne’s Tom Regan, doing his best to stay the right side of the gun barrels.
Behind these great performances, inevitably, the stars of the show are the Coen Brothers, who put together a technically brilliant, lyrically shot gangster movie that one part homage to the golden age of Cagney and Edward G. Robinson and one part devoted to inventive storytelling and ladling on the atmosphere.
In its new Blu-ray guise, the visuals look absolutely glorious and Carter Burwell’s score has never sounded better.
It’s great to see such a brilliantly crafted film as Miller’s Crossing receiving this level of attention, and its high definition upgrade is a very, very welcome one. A must-buy.--Jon Foster
Its the compelling story of a friendship between the local political boss, Leo (four time Academy Award nominee Albert Finney - Tom Jones, Erin Brockovich) and Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne - The Usual Suspects, End of Days), the man behind the man. The mens friendship is severed when Leo and Tom both fall in love with the same woman, Verna (Academy Award winner Marcia Gay Harden - Pollock, Mystic River). Tom joins ranks with Johnny Caspar (Jon Polito - Barton Fink, The Singing Detective) Leos foremost enemy and rival for political power, and a bloody gang war erupts. The lynchpin between them all is Vernas brother, Bernie (John Turturro - Oh Brother, Where Art Thou, Mr Deeds) who crosses and double crosses all parties. Will Tom sell out to a friend? Is Verna still Leos girl? Can Johnny muscle in? Or will Bernie turn the tables on his friends and family? Millers Crossing is propelled by gripping action, stunning cinematography and black humour to create an intense and twisting plot that walks a deadly tightrope.
Tom Reagan, beautiful played by the darkly smoldering Gabriel Byrne, is Leo's main man. Unfortunately for him, he is feeling the noose around his neck tighten, as he owes some big gambling debts that he is unable to pay. Moreover, he is head over heels in love with Verna, played with hard edged, sexual intensity by Marcia Gay Harden, who just happens to be Leo's main squeeze. Moreover, Verna's bookmaker brother, Bernie Bernbaum, played with smarmy abandon by John Turturro, has a contract on his life and is on the run. When Tom finds himself helping Bernie, he soon discovers that no good deed goes unpunished. All this makes life very complicated and difficult for Tom.
At times, it is difficult to ascertain who the good guys and the bad guys really are, or for whom they really work, as they all seem to march to the beat of a different drummer. There is more to what is going on than initially meets the eye. Make no mistake, this is a multi-faceted movie that works well on many levels. As with all Coen brothers' films, there is an underlay of sly humor that permeates the film.
The dialogue is sharp and evocative of another time, as it is laden with Prohibition era slang, and its stacatto delivery is most effective. The characters all walk the walk and talk the talk. The performances by the entire case are stellar. Look for Steve Buscemi in the small role of Mink, and do not blink or you will miss Frances McDormand's performance as Johnny Caspar's secretary.... Read more ›
The cast is excllent with Gabriel Byrne portaying the seemingly cold and calculating Tom very convincingly without alienating the viewer and ultimately still able to express his feelings of pain and loss without getting all mushy or stepping out of character.
The supporting cast is mostly excellent and never short of ok.
Coen brothers regular John Turturo is well cast as the sleazy, self serving bookie )ernie) who is the cause of everyones troubles and Steve Buscemi (Mink) has barely more than a cameo as another 'funny looking' guy.
The rival italian gang fronted by Jon Polito as Johnny Caspar and his 2nd in command 'the Dane' are both comedic and threatening. The fact that the Dane is almost certainly gay (though in no way camp) adds to the sense of real character while still maintaining the near surrealism of the Coens best work.
The weakest casting is of the gangsters mol, Verna (Marcia Harden) who probably isn't quite attractive or dangerous enough
,but maybe that's the point.
Complex, quirky and compelling.
Watch it and be spellbound..
The DVD is largely devoid of extras, but frankly when a film is this good, who cares ?
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