Miller’s Crossing (1990)

The place where it all goes down, in the forest.

Trusted adviser to 1920s Irish crime boss Lee O’Bannon, Tom Reagan’s loyalty is tested when he takes up with O’Bannon’s gal pal, Verna Bernbaum. Meanwhile,rivals Johnny Caspar and Eddie Dane threaten O’Bannon’s racket.

Miller’s Crossing is directed by the highly original Joel Cohen, and it’s pretty easy to tell, as there are many numerous look a likes in this film to countless others of The Coen Brothers.

In this film, there are many very good scenes that are just about being visually and emotionally captivating. Coen makes this film touch you but not with words or actions, but by the look of the film, and how you feel you’re in this torn-down 1920’s era of where gangsters and crime rule the town, and where everything is deceptive.

If you’re looking fora good mafia film then look no farther. Many stereotypes in mobster films don’t quite happen in here. We have always seen these tommy-guns blazing, but not with the kind of style this film gives us. The script is not like many other mafia films, as it is very realistic but also very challenging and complicated.

The reason it’s very complicating is because it starts off on the wrong foot talking about characters we do not know, and have no clue about. Probably about 45 minutes into the actual film is when we finally find out who all the players are. Many events in this film also happen, without us even knowing ourselves. I liked the little John Tuturro scene at first and felt that was good, but then it starts to over-play itself and just turned out to be a little too annoying.

The movie does have some pretty interesting scenes with some great violence and great visuals, but moves at a snail’s pace. There were way too many scenes that just featured these people talking, drinking, smoking, or anything else about gangsters. I felt like this film at points got boring, and does not do very well trying to pull it’s viewers in.

Miller’s Crossing features a lot of big names that are recognizable, but aren’t in this film as much as you would think. Gabriel Byrne does a very good job at playing this lead and doesn’t act tough throughout the whole movie, and actually does show some weaknesses within. Albert Finney, John Tuturro, and Marcia Gay Harden all are in this film and show up but are not used as well, and don?t seem to powerful for a film that bases it all on the power of a look and feel.

Consensus: Though not one of Coen’s best, Miller’s Crossing is a small mobster gem that is visually spectacular and features a real-life look at the world of the Mafia.


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