Miller’s Crossing


The Coens’ ripping yarn of 1930s gangster warfare, a primo mix of arthouse smarts and genre thrills, boasts some of the most pyrotechnic gunplay to ever riddle the screen … and the verbal fireworks to match. Italian mob boss Johnny Caspar (Jon Polito) wants to rub out Jewish gambler Bernie (John Turturro), but he’s protected by Irish Godfather Leo (Albert Finney), who’s sweet on Bernie’s sister Verna (Marcia Gay Harden). Leo’s trusted lieutenant and right hand man Tom (Gabriel Byrne) advises his boss against letting his heart interfere with business, but he’s hardly one to talk, as he’s got a thing cooking with Verna on the side. Eventually it all boils over into a bloody gang war of ambushes, double crosses and shifting allegiances where nothing is ever quite what it seems. By turns frenetic and poetic, comedic and melodramatic, this one-of-a-kind crime saga was initially overlooked by audiences (it had the misfortune to be released the same year as Scorsese’s Goodfellas), but it now ranks as one of the Coen Brothers’ greatest and most ambitious films. (Dir. by Joel Coen, 1990, USA, 115 mins., Rated R) 35mm