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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A truly classy gangster tale, 27 Aug 2012
This review is from: The Glass Key (Paperback)
If you've never seen 'Miller's Crossing', I urge you to - without the slightest hesitation - do so now! The Coen brothers' gangster film is not quite up there with 'The Godfather' or 'Goodfellas', but is a work of genius nevertheless. It's a highly stylised tale of a town ruled by the mob and the relationship of the two men at the centre of it. Both Gabriel Byrne and Albert Finney are superb (indeed, there are no slouches in the entire cast), and the film is packed with fantastic moments which will remain forever in your memory. (The soundtrack is brilliant too). The Coens are variable film makers, but this is one of their Grade A efforts. So if you've never seen it, I order you to please stop reading this now and go out and get yourself a copy. You will thank me later.

For whatever reason - even though I clearly love the film - I'd never actually read the Dashiell Hammett novel which inspired it. Perhaps it was because I didn't know what `inspired by' actually meant. The film isn't a straight adaptation of the book, so is that inspiration obscure and oblique, or is it blatant and obvious? The answer is very much the latter. They share a similar setting, the relationship between the two central characters, the spark of a mob war, some great dialogue and even all that stuff about the hats. (You'll understand when you see the film.) Even if I didn't know that this was the inspiration, I'd have spotted it almost immediately anyway.

I always dislike reading a book after I've seen the film, as I normally end up just comparing one to the other, but in this case it was unavoidable. However trying to judge it on its own merits, I will say that this is a thrilling read which kept this reader permanently on edge. Much like Hammett's `Red Harvest', it's frequently difficult to work out which side the lead character is actually on - and that of course means anything can happen. The ending perhaps isn't as clever or as affecting as it should be, but this is a classy gangster tale with suspense, great scenes and fantastic dialogue - and you can't really ask for more than that, can you?
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dashiell Hammett at the height of his powers., 8 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Glass Key (Paperback)
The narrative in this hammers along. The motives and causes are all there staring you in the face, and at the same time Hammett captures the elusiveness of it all. But why?! Parodying life's 'terrible' frustrations tremendously. As Shakespeare said, 'What you know you know.'.
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The Glass Key
The Glass Key by Dashiell Hammett (Paperback - 2 Feb 2012)
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