Tom Reagan (played by Gabriel Byrne) is the right-hand man, and chief adviser, to a mob boss, Leo (Albert Finney). Trouble is brewing between Leo and another mob boss, Johnny Caspar (Jon Polito), over the activities of a bookie, Bernie Bernbaum (John Turturro) and Leo and Tom are at odds on how to deal with it. Meanwhile, Tom is in a secret relationship with Leo's girlfriend, Verna (Marcia Gay Harden), who happens to be the sister of Bernie. In trying to resolve the issue, Tom is cast out from Leo's camp and ultimately finds himself stuck in the middle between several deadly, unforgiving parties. Written by
Among other details that give hints as to where the events of the film may take place (although it is never explicitly stated), one is when Verna tells Tom that they could "pack up and leave town", to which he replies sarcastically: "...where would we go Verna, Niagara Falls?" This supports the theory that the events of the film take place somewhere in New York state. See more »
After The Dane punches Tom to the floor in Caspar's house and threatens to beat Mink's fate out of Tom, the line, "Is this how you taught Drop his story?" from Tom is dubbed over his unmoving lips. See more »
Very smart. What were you doing at the club, talking things over with Leo?
Don't think so hard, Eddie. You might sprain something.
You are so goddamn smart. Except you ain't. I get you, smart guy. I know what you are. Straight as a corkscrew. Mr. Inside-Outski, like some goddamn Bolshevik picking up his orders from Yegg Central. You think you're so goddamn smart. You join up with Johnny Caspar, you bump Bernie Bernbaum. Up is down. Black is white. Well, I think you're half smart. I think you ...
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I was blown away by this film the first time I saw it. After giving myself a couple hours to shake off my dumbfounding amazement, I became addicted. This film has everything. It's witty in its dialogue, suspenseful in its action and violence, beautiful in its cinematography, and (being so like the Coen brothers) it can make you laugh and cringe in the same scene.
The script is superb. The characters are absorbing and the dialogue (as some reviewers have already observed) flows like words in a book. You have to watch some scenes more than once to totally get what's going on, and even then you still might miss something.
The acting is top-notch, even down to the lowest thug. Gabriel Byrne plays the antihero Tom to lonely perfection and Marcia Gay Harden's hooker without a golden heart is excellent. The rest of the cast is great as well, including good mobster Albert Finney and a funny cameo by Steven Buscemi. However, the show is stolen threefold by Jon Polito as the erratic Italian underboss Johnny Caspar, John Tuturro as the slimy "schmatta" Bernie Bernbaum and J.E. Freeman as Caspar's dark, vicious adviser/thug Eddie Dane. Jon Polito's monologue in the very beginning on ethics and Tuturro's desperate pleas at Miller's Crossing are both powerful scenes, and Freeman commands the screen whenever he is on.
My rating is a 10/10. The best part about this movie is that it gets better and better every time you watch it. Oh yeah...the Danny Boy scene is reason enough to watch this movie anyway.
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