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
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
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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