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
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 »
The robe that Verna wears when Tom visits her the morning after he loses his hat keeps changing positions between shots, alternately revealing and concealing her bra. See more »
what's the rumpus? this movie is one of the greatest
This is for those who have seen the movie and given it the high hat.
"For a sheeny he's got a lot of good qualities." I'm watching the film AGAIN now and this gem just popped up. Any piece of dialog would make my quote book. This ain't no review. It's a response. First, seeing this as a gangster movie is like seeing Blade Runner as a sci-fi flick. Second, seeing this as film noir, with Tom as the typical anti-hero shows that we have to classify every film by the terms we are comfortable with. Finally, Tom is one of the most complex characters I've seen in film. Why? Because he's real. It reminds me a bit of the American Splendor comics and film where Pekar don't have to give a happy ending, a sad ending, clear symbolism, a strong message. Just a story even if it does not "fit" into what we expect from books, films, magazines, etc. Tom is one of my favorite characters and I still don't understand him and neither do you. This along with everything people have commented on (dialog, editing, characters, etc.) make the film in my opinion one of THE greatest films period. What makes Godfather better? Brando's tired speeches? This is a flick you can watch over and over and I stand by those who respect the genius of this film. So take ya flunkie and dangle and again- this paragraph is for those who give the high hat to Tom, the most conflicted and realistic personage in any film I've seen. Will you watch Tom with amazement or try to analyze his motivation based on film stereotypes? Let's get stinko.
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