Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Miller's Crossing (1990)

Synopsis: It’s basically two hours of Gabriel Byrne getting savagely beaten by an assortment of Italian, Irish and Danish gangsters, punctuated with snappy 1930s dialogue. 

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Propelled by gripping action, an intense, twisting plot and stunning cinematography, Miller’s Crossing perfectly re-creates the look and feel of a time when underworld warfare ripped apart urban America.” 

What Did I Learn?: 1) If you’re about to get shot by a reluctant hit-man, the words: “look in your heart” may get you out of a sticky situation. They won’t work a second time, however. 2) If you have to shoot somebody, always put one in the brain.

Really?: 1) Seriously – take a drink any time Tom (Byrne) takes a punch. How much punishment can this guy take, and why does he keep mouthing off to people who have him at gunpoint? Come to think of it, you can also take a drink any time somebody says: “Jesus, Tom.” 2) I had a bit of trouble believing Caspar – an Italian mobster – would refer to Bernie as a “schmatte” on numerous occasions. 3) So, Leo (Albert Finney) beats the crap out of Tom, and we’re supposed to believe there’s still a bond of loyalty? 

Rating: Written and directed by the Coen brothers, Miller’s Crossing is an intelligent, and spell-binding gangster flick with a superb cast and some great lines. My only complaints would be that it tends to meander, and Tom’s behaviour becomes increasingly difficult to swallow. 8.5/10 stars.

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