29. Miller's Crossing (1990)

Roger's Rating :

Should be :

Roger didn’t have much love for the early Coen Brothers’ movies. He gave this great movie 3 stars in his review but he thought it had more style than substance. He says in his review : “This doesn’t look like a gangster movie, it looks like a commercial intended to look like a gangster movie. Everything is too designed. That goes for the plot and the dialogue, too. The dialogue is well-written, but it is indeed written. We admire the prose rather than the message. People make threats, and we think about how elegantly the threats are worded.”
Dave McCoy from MSN movies said of the movie :
"But in their 1990 masterpiece, Miller's Crossing, it takes the Coens but one quick shot to establish their cool, hard-as-nails, no-nonsense protagonist, Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne).
Before we see anything, we hear the unmistakable sound of ice clicking together. The camera's eye opens, and we see an empty tumbler, illuminated by a green glow. Suddenly, three cubes of ice are quickly tossed inside, and a healthy dose of whiskey soon follows. A hand grabs the glass and pulls it away, as he we hear gangster Johnny Caspar pontificate, off-screen," I'm talkin' about friendship. I'm talkin' about character..." And cut. Now, forget that our protagonist is a boozing Irishman... that's not the stereotype that defines Tom Reagan or interests the Coens. It is ice and that lamp and those first two lines. As we'll see through the course of this labyrinthine film, Tom is that ice: Cold, hard, strong, able to cut and able to freeze people out. But he, like the glass of ice, is surrounded by green greed and, ultimately, tough questions of friendship and character. The shot lasts 5 seconds, but encapsulates everything that follows.

I love this movie, which is able to wink at the gangster genre, while at the same time adding to it. The twisting, the crossings, the style, the acting ... a wonderful movie. One of my all time favorites. IMDB has it at 8.0 at Rotten Tomatoes has it at 90%.

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