Tom Regan, an advisor to a Prohibition-era crime boss, tries to keep the peace between warring mobs but gets caught in divided loyalties.
Release Year: 1990
Rating: 8.0/10 (57,896 voted)
Critic's Score: 66/100
Stars: Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney, John Turturro
A highly styled 'genre' film which can perhaps be seen as a pastiche of all gangster movies. Tom Reagan is the laconic anti-hero of this amoral tale which is also, paradoxically, a look at morals within the criminal underworld of the 1930s. Two rival gangs vie for control of a city where the police are pawns, and the periodic busts of illicit drinking establishments are no more than a way for one gang to get back at the other. Black humour and shocking violence compete for screen time as we question whether or not Tom, right-hand man of the Irish mob leader, really has a heart.
Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Marcia Gay Harden
Mayor Dale Levander
Clarence "Drop" Johnson
Up is down, black is white, and nothing is what it seems.
Release Date: October 1990
Filming Locations: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Box Office Details
Did You Know?
The character Eddie Dane was originally written for Peter Stormare and was to be named The Swede. Stormare had to decline as he was appearing as Hamlet in the Broadway production. The part was then re-written and re-cast, and became The Dane.
When the Dane goes to Verna's apartment, Verna pulls a gun out of her purse on the bed and points it at the Dane. He then slaps her hand with the gun, but the sound of the slap is clearly before the visual.
Don't smart me! See I wanna watch you squirm; I wanna see you sweat a little, and when you smart me… it ruins it.
The Jewel of the Coen Crown
One of the great undiscovered gems of recent movie history. In my
Miller's crossing is easily the best of the Coen brothers' films, and one
the true classics of American cinema.
On the surface, the story of warring gangsters in 1920's America is one
has been told many times before. But never before has it been handled
such artistry and precision. The (rather violent) action scenes keep the
movie going along at a brisk pace, and the camera work is every bit the
equal of "Fargo".
I became a lifelong Gabriel Byrne fan as a result of this movie, despite
best efforts to disappoint me since. Byrne's Tom Reagan is a compellingly
amoral character, who takes more unchallenged beatings than perhaps anyone
in film history. Men beat him up. Women beat him up. Collection men,
bookies, gangsters, and even his boss gives him a terrible thrashing, and
hardly lifts a finger in opposition (with one notably humorous exception).
Albert Finney is tremendous as Leo, the local crime boss. His "Danny Boy"
scene should go down in film history as one of the greatest pieces ever
filmed. Jon Polito is at once absurdly funny and threateningly psychotic
Johnny Caspar, Leo's rival in the turf war. J.E. Freeman, John Turturro,
and Marcia Gay Harden all lend strong support in a cast that was assembled
and performs to near perfection.
I will never understand why this film has not received more recognition
acclaim. As an example of the modern style of Film Noir, it has no equals
("The Usual Suspects" would rate a close second). Among gangster films,
only "The Godfather" can compete, and "Miller's Crossing" features
pacing and dialog, although it lacks "The Godfather's" epic proportions.
Perhaps someday this film will receive, like "The Manchurian Candidate"
"Touch of Evil", the belated accolades it so richly deserves.