Miller's Crossing (1990)
Arguably the most accomplished of the
Coen brothers' films to date, this 1930s mafia/crime-story is intriguing
and complex, and unveiled with a brilliant sense of suspense. This is one of the brothers' most classically narrative films,
and it is told in a brooding, somewhat contained fashion which is
appropriately stylized and psychologically realistic at the same time.
Gabriel Byrne stars as an emotionally
detached, non-violent and cunning loner who finds himself locked between
the two leading mafiosos in an eastern-American city. His character
might look typical, but he's not. The brilliant screenplay is not based
on characters acting as expected by the plot – it is a wisely
constructed character-relation drama that combines depth with the Coens'
delightful and well-balanced humour. Byrne's performance is one of his
best. He manages to come off as a hard-boiled anti-hero while at the same
time conveying well-ignited bits of real emotion. The dependable Turturro
also does incredibly well – especially in a couple of crucial scenes,
while Albert Finney is a pleasure to watch as a powerful but not too
bright mafioso. The photography (by Barry Sonnenfeld) is complementing
the Coens' stylish visuals.