Miller's Crossing

1990

Action / Crime / Drama / Thriller

134
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 91%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 91%
IMDb Rating 7.8 10 114691

Synopsis


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Frances McDormand as Mayor's Secretary
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751.23 MB
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1hr 55 min
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23.976 fps
1hr 55 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by pzanardo 10 / 10

this movie is splendid, magnificent, unique: don't miss it

In my opinion, "Miller's crossing" is by far the top work of the Coen brothers, and one of the best movies in the history of cinema. The huge Coens' talent being now fully recognized, I hope that this masterpiece will get the credit it deserves.

The plot deals with the war between Irish and Italian gangsters, caused by the Jewish crook Bernie (the Coens like to joke with the rivalry of different ethnic groups). The crook's affectionate sister Verna is the mistress of Leo O' Bannion, the boss of the Irish gang, who consequently opposes to have him killed by the Italians. But Tom Reagan, the old mate and factotum of O' Bannion, has different plans... The story is extremely interesting, exciting, entertaining. There are no flaws in the development of the plot, despite its complications (a homage to the intricate classic film-noirs of the Golden Age). The script is sharp, cynical, sarcastic, full of memorable lines and of black sense of humor, with many delightful subtleties: the celebrated Coens' wit at its best. The photography is magnificent and very original. The music is great. The action scenes are superbly filmed: violence explodes suddenly and unexpectedly. The finale is perfect and splendidly crowns the movie.

Tom Reagan, played by Gabriel Byrne, is one of the most memorable characters I have seen on the screen. A gangster who tries to use intelligence instead of violence (with alternate success), following a peculiar moral code. Cynical but devoted to friendship. A systematic liar, but capable of generosity. Despite his skills, he is not ambitious, he prefer to be subject to a big-shot. And then, with all his smartness, he strangely chooses to destroy himself with alcohol and gambling. A magnificent psychological design. With this sober, brilliant, subtle performance, worth of a Bogart in great shape, Byrne just shows that he is the best actor in the world (my opinion, of course).

The aged Irish boss O' Bannion - Albert Finney is the opposite of Reagan: naive, sometimes dumb, with a strong love and childish attachment for his girl-friend, he is confident only in his own charisma and in brutal force. Speaking of brutal force, he will show in a gun-fight that he's still the number one, in spite of years passing (incidentally: this is one of the best action scenes I've ever seen).

Also the other characters are shaped with outstanding intelligence and care, from the main ones (Bernie, his sister, the Italian boss, his right-hand Dane) to the last of the thugs. The whole cast is fantastic: Finney, Turturro, Marcia Gay Hayden, Polito, Freeman and all the other excellent supporting actors. A special mention for the scaring gangster Eddie Dane - J.E. Freeman: he really makes you shriver. Turturro is a bit histrionic for my taste, but this is his style of acting, suited for the role of the crook, mean and coward, but cunning and dangerous as a snake.

To summarize, in "Miller's Crossing" fun, drama, action, suspense, mystery are masterly blended with deeper themes such as love, friendship and human loneliness. This movie is splendid, magnificent, unique, don't miss it.

Reviewed by Scott LeBrun 8 / 10

"And today I ain't selling any...so take your flunky and dangle."

Gabriel Byrne is aces as Tom Reagan, a top adviser to Prohibition-era Irish gangster Leo (Albert Finney). Tom is absolutely cold-blooded, yet does have his own personal code. Tom and Leo end up having a falling-out over a woman named Verna (Marcia Gay Harden, in her first substantial film role). And so Tom ends up associating with Italian mob boss Johnny Caspar (Jon Polito), incurring the suspicion of Caspars' number one henchman Eddie Dane (J.E. Freeman). As the elaborate story unfolds, Tom plays every angle he can think of to come out on top.

Still, he takes a TON of physical punishment as this plays out. Although it may be a little difficult investing time in a character who's so antiheroic, he is a compelling character, and it would be hard not to feel SOME sympathy for him every time he gets a fresh beating.

Overall, "Miller's Crossing" is well worth a look, especially for any fan of filmmaking brothers Joel and Ethan Coen. It's quite an absorbing story, and the impressive cast has such a field day with the Coens' memorable dialogue that it makes a one hour and 55 minute run time almost fly by. The Coens do a respectable job at recreating the period (what city or town in which this takes place is never really specified) while indulging in various amusing bursts of in-your-face violence certain to delight some people and repulse others. It's all enhanced by a haunting and lovely score by frequent Coen brothers collaborator Carter Burwell, still a somewhat under valued composer.

Finney is quite likeable, while a young and fiery Harden leaves quite the impression in the only major female role. Polito is a scene stealing live wire, in contrast to the more icy cold Freeman as the brutish Dane. John Turturro is highly effective playing Vernas' brother Bernie, a truly wretched weasel if ever there was one. Familiar faces in smaller roles include Mike Starr, Steve Buscemi, Olek Krupa, Michael Jeter, and Michael Badalucco.

A good, well-told, potent story of friendship, loyalty, and survival instinct, with characters doing whatever they have to do to get by.

Look for Sam Raimi, a longtime friend of Joel and Ethan, and Joels' wife Frances McDormand, in quick cameos.

Eight out of 10.

Reviewed by Filipe Neto 8 / 10

A very good film.

I've seen several Cohen brothers films and I know they have a habit of making complex films, more or less between the commercial movie and the intellectual movie. The Cohen have the ability to go from one end to the other of this spectrum. The script runs during the Prohibition and in the context of an impending gangster war. Tom, the main character, is trying to avoid it, but ends up getting entangled in a web of crossed loyalties.

Gabriel Byrne gave life to the lead role and was excellent. I loved his performance in a character who looks like an anti-hero. He has everything to be bad (he has no character or scruple and doesn't mind betraying friends) but he is pragmatic and seems to regard the bloodshed as something that should be avoided or minimized. That makes Tom a character we like. He is not a good guy, but he seems to be the most human person in the whole movie. Velma, on the other hand, looks like a cold, calculating, treacherous girl. The way Marcia Gay Harden acted also helped. The actress is good and performed well. John Turturro also shone in the role of Bernie, an opportunist little crook who gets in trouble by fooling a big fish. Albert Finney brought to life Leo, the powerful Irish boss with a good heart and full of kindness. He is a good actor, but his character seems too good to be a mobster. Much closer to the ruthless and cynical picture which we use to make of mob bosses is Jon Polito. He's the most dominant actor in the film, along with Byrne. I loved his work here. His cruelty, the easy way he kills or orders to kill gave me goose bumps. The rest of the cast also did a good job, but I think these actors deserve prominence, not so much for having the main characters but for the quality of their work.

Another good thing are the technical details. Cinematography is very good and contributes decisively to the chilling environment that we like to feel in a true gangster movie. Some scenes are clearly homage to other films of the past, as well as the relevance given to fedora hats. In fact, if there is anything that we immediately link with the gangster world it's this particular type of hat (although it's also one of the most classic male hat models, still fashionable nowadays... I even have one). We can also see other iconic elements of the mob world, like Thompson sub-machine guns. It has excellent firefight scenes also, and the dry and ironic humor that is the Cohen Brothers trademark. The only thing I didn't like was the soundtrack because I felt it cut through the pleasant tension I felt throughout the movie.

"Miller's Crossing" is a good movie. It's not too complex or unintelligible, tells a good story, has a nice irony, a good cast doing a great job, good production values and positive technical details. It's worth watching.

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