Review 189: Miller’s Crossing (1990)
I am working my way through so many films this year. One goal is to see all of the Coen films as a I am a fan of the ones I’ve seen. Miller’s Crossing was a movie I’ve heard so many great things about and I had been putting it off for a while now. I ended up watching it on my iPad and found myself fixed to the tiny screen. I give Miller’s Crossing the Must See rating.
Tom Regan (Gabriel Byrne), an advisor to Leo (Albert Finney) who is Prohibition-era crime boss, tries to keep the peace between warring mobs but gets caught in divided loyalties. Tom navigates through the various issues trying to keep his head above water while dealing with his gambling problems and dumb luck.
The Coen’s weave a very intricate story in Miller’s Crossing. Gabriel Byrne does a wonderful job as Tom Regan. I waited with anticipation through every scene wondering what it was he would do. Whether he was interacting with Bernie (John Turturro), Verna (Marcia Gay Harden), or Johnny Caspar (Jon Polito) or talking crap to Eddie Dane (J.E. Freeman), I loved Byrne’s performance. I was never really sure if I understood Tom’s character until basically the end of the film. It was hard to tell his personality at times, but that’s by intent.
The Coen’s know how to tell a story
The story moves quickly and really uses the spaces well. A lot of the film is just dialogue, but that’s one of my favorite choices in film. The violence that arrives in a gangster film is in your face and brutal. I think my favorite scenes in this film are when John Turturro is on-screen. He is such a big presence whenever he shows up on-screen. Tom is put in a position where he has to make a choice about Bernie’s fate. There are lots of reasons on both sides for what he should do. How it plays out is brilliant and really adds to the intrigue of the film.
If you’re a fan of the Coen’s and haven’t seen this one you owe it to yourself to buy it. I got it on Vudu for $6.99 a few months back, but just got to watch it. I wish I’d watched it on my TV rather than my iPad, but it was still really enjoyable. The look of the film and the production design is fantastic as is the writing. Definitely one to watch.