A highly styled 'genre' film which can perhaps be seen as a pastiche of all gangster movies. Tom Reagan is the laconic anti-hero of this amoral tale which is also, paradoxically, a look at morals within the criminal underworld of the 1930s. Two rival gangs vie for control of a city where the police are pawns, and the periodic busts of illicit drinking establishments are no more than a way for one gang to get back at the other. Black humour and shocking violence compete for screen time as we question whether or not Tom, right-hand man of the Irish mob leader, really has a heart. Written by
The film never expressly states in what year it takes place. The Model A Fords seen throughout the film may provide a baseline, as that automobile was introduced in 1927, but other cars are also visible, ranging from 1926 to 1930 model years. The calendar in Johnny Casper's office could also provide a hint, but it does not appear to be reliable. The month is not visible on the calendar, but the first is shown to be on a Saturday. That Saturday is in red to indicate a holiday, and the only holiday on the 1st of the month in the US is New Years Day. However, the weather in the film certainly does not seem like winter weather in what is probably New York City. Ultimately, it seems likely that the calendar is not a useful guide. If you choose to ignore the weather, and note that the film takes place during Prohibition, the only possible years (when the 1st fell on a Saturday) are 1921 and 1927. See more »
The position of the police chief's arms while talking to Tom during the attack on Leo's club. See more »
Hello, Tom. How are ya? Care to scrape a knuckle on your playmate here?
No. Thanks though, Andy.
Well, if you change your mind, we'll be
[returns to pummeling thug tied to chair]
interrogating for a while.
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Contrary to what Pete the Geek says in his comment this film is not a comedy. I suspect he is a fan of the old black and whites and so he believes this is a spoof of them which it is most certainly not. This is a pure drama with perfect dialog and excellent acting all around. The film basically tells the events that unfold around a Gangland war between the Irish and Italian mobs of the late 20s. Gabriel Byrne plays Tom, Leo's (Albert Finney) right hand man and adviser who disagrees with his boss's decision to protect the conman brother (John Turturro) of his girlfriend Verna (Marcia Gay Harden) and must work his own wily methods to protect Leo from this decision.
This is a masterpiece of modern film and definitely shows that the Cohen brothers can do anything with film. The dialog and accents are all perfectly executed in vintage 20s style and flare, the sets are absolutely beautiful and the costume work is so good you almost feel like you stepped back in time. Anyone who doesn't love this film should go back and try watching it again. The musical score alone is enough to make it worth while.
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