Critic Reviews

66

Metascore

Based on 18 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
USA Today
Cold and cut to the bone, the film is a primer in screen virtuosity. Standard action film clichés, like a face getting hit with a chair, get turned inside out; both film and actors somehow manage to seem realistic and stylized at the same time. [21 Sept 1990, Life, p.6D]
100
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
A masterpiece, but of a unique kind... A gorgeously filmed, supremely well-acted, intricately written film noir about now.
100
Barry Sonnenfeld's stunning cinematography and the sharply etched characterizations make this film one for the ages.
88
Christian Science Monitor
The movie is artful to a fault, with too many characters sitting in perfectly arranged, immaculately lighted rooms and talking a lot. It contains near-classic sequences, though, and splendid performances. [28 Sept 1990]
83
Entertainment Weekly
If, however, you're looking for compelling characters, all the lights are blazing here but nobody's at home.
80
A very clever, stylish story of friendship, loyalty and betrayal.
75
Chicago Sun-Times
What it doesn't have is a narrative magnet to pull us through - a story line that makes us really care what happens, aside from the elegant but mechanical manipulations of the plot.
75
Chicago Tribune
The Coens have technique and they have taste; what they do not yet have is the ability to move beyond their handsome imagery to the human center of their material. [5 Oct 1990, Friday, p.C]
70
It takes place in an artificial world constructed largely from the mythology of other movies, and, though it's both seamless and stylish, some find it a little too self-conscious for its own good.
60
Los Angeles Times
Heart may be what the movie needs most, but a bit of clarity wouldn't hurt either. Even here in gangsterland, where random characters are cherished and non sequiturs are considered wisecracks, there is a difference between complications and impenetrability, and this plot is a bloody thicket.. [5 Oct 1990, Calendar, p.F-10]
50
San Francisco Chronicle
An elegant-looking picture, carefully made and beautifully put together, but when the gloss wears off, you're left with an experience that doesn't quite satisfy. [5 Oct 1990, Daily Datebook, E10]

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