Joel and Ethan Coen's third collaboration, the gangster film Miller's Crossing, stars Gabriel Byrne as Tom Reagan, the right-hand man of big-city Irish mob boss Leo (Albert Finney). The film opens with Italian mobster Johnny Caspar (Jon Polito) and his second in command Eddie Dane (J.E. Freeman) informing Leo and Tom that they are going to kill bookie Bernie Bernbaum (John Turturro) because he has been revealing Caspar's fixed fights to other gamblers. Leo informs Caspar that Bernie pays for protection and is not to be touched. After the Italians leave in a huff, Tom informs Leo that he should give up Bernie. Tom and Leo are both involved with Verna (Marcia Gay Harden), Bernie's sister. After a failed hit on Leo starts a full-scale mob war, Tom reveals to Leo the truth about his relationship with Verna. This leads to a falling-out between the pair. Tom goes to work for Caspar, but in truth, he is still loyal to Leo. Tom figures out how to manipulate all of the situations so that Leo survives, but this may cost Tom his relationship with Verna.~Perry Seibert
Shooting Miller's Crossing - a conversatino with Barry Sonnenfeld
Cast interviews with Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden and John Turturro
When the Italian Mafia threatens to kill a crooked bookie (John Turturro), Irish mob boss Leo O'Bannon (Albert Finney) refuses to allow it, chiefly because he's dating the bookie's sister, crafty gun moll Verna Bernbaum (Marcia Gay Harden). Leo's right-hand man, Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne), is also seeing Verna on the sly, and when he's found out is obliged to switch sides, going to work for the Italian mob amidst a dramatically escalating gang war over liquor distribution
This is a different kind of gangster flick. It is an intelligent foray into the world of the roaring twenties and the corruption and speakeasies engendered by Prohibition. This money making turf is zealously guarded by rival crime bosses: Leo, masterfully played by Albert Finney, and Johnny Caspar, well played by Jon Polito.
Tom Reagan, beautiful played by the darkly smoldering Gabriel Byrne, is Leo's main man. Unfortunately for him, he is feeling the noose around his neck tighten, as he owes some big gambling debts that he is unable to pay. Moreover, he is head over heels in love with Verna, played with hard edged, sexual intensity by Marcia Gay Harden, who just happens to be Leo's main squeeze. Moreover, Verna's bookmaker brother, Bernie Bernbaum, played with smarmy abandon by John Turturro, has a contract on his life and is on the run. When Tom finds himself helping Bernie, he soon discovers that no good deed goes unpunished. All this makes life very complicated and difficult for Tom.
At times, it is difficult to ascertain who the good guys and the bad guys really are, or for whom they really work, as they all seem to march to the beat of a different drummer. There is more to what is going on than initially meets the eye. Make no mistake, this is a multi-faceted movie that works well on many levels. As with all Coen brothers' films, there is an underlay of sly humor that permeates the film.
The dialogue is sharp and evocative of another time, as it is laden with Prohibition era slang, and its stacatto delivery is most effective. The characters all walk the walk and talk the talk. The performances by the entire cast are stellar. Look for Steve Buscemi in the small role of Mink, and do not blink or you will miss Frances McDormand's performance as Johnny Caspar's secretary. All in all, this is an excellent film and another feather in the collective cap of the Coen brothers.
I would recommend this to a friend
Rated 5 out of 5 stars
One of the great Gangster movies
Owned for 1 month when reviewed.
If you like gangster movies, this is a great one. Great story line, acting and action. You won't be disappointed. Always watched when it was available on movie channels but finally just purchased my own at Best Buy
I have not watched this movie on Blu-Ray yet, but I look forward to it!
I would recommend this to a friend
Rated 4 out of 5 stars
good ole gangster flix
What you see in Miller's Crossing is not what you get, believe me. This film belongs to Gabriel Byrne who plays Tom Reagan. Tom is a hero, anti-hero, maybe, in this gangster film. The Coen Bros, those wonderful film guys, have written and directed this film. You can tell from the very beginning when this marvelous music overpowers you that a Coen film is here.
Tom Reagan is an assistant of sorts to Leo, played by Albert Finney. Leo is the crime boss, and the entire city revolves around him. Both Tom and Leo have an affinity for Verna, played by Marsha Gay Harden, though Leo is at first not aware of this. Jon Polito who plays Johnny Caspar, Leo's opposite. John has a thing for "business ethics.", which makes me laugh when you see his temper and his antics. One of the most interesting characters is Bernie Bernbaum, played by John Turrtora. A weasel loved by his sister, Verna, and for whom everything falls apart. The action is violent, beatings a plenty, gunfights a plenty, lots of booze, some sex, but nothing seen. A Coen film must be seen.