By The Nerdling
The Coen Brothers have a laundry list of movies which dominate the globally-loved-everyone-quotes-all-the-time category and have influenced a horde of up and coming directors. Somehow, Miller’s Crossing is one of those exceptional films that fell into the not-as-well-known-as-it-should-be category. Filled with humor, colorful eccentrics, fast dialogue, and cartoonish violence which is the trademark of Coen Brothers movies. As well as the added bonus of a cast filled with Hollywood’s favorite character actors; Gabriel Byrne, John Turturro, Marcia Gay Harden, Steve Buscemi, and the late Albert Finney.
Set in New York during the Prohibition-era, Tom Regan (Byrne) is the right-hand man to the Irish mob boss Leo (Finney). Johnny Caspar (Jon Polito), the Italian mob boss, feels disrespected when Leo protects a bookie, Bernie (Turturro) who shorted him. Bernie is the brother of Verna (Harden), Leo’s girlfriend and secret lover of Tom. Stuck in the middle of an impending war between the two heavy-weights, Tom must navigate his own survival and come up with the cash to pay off his debts.
I didn’t discover Miller’s Crossing until about seven years ago when the man I’m about to marry set it up on his DVD player one night. I was hooked. It instantly became my favorite Coen film. “What’s the rumpus?” or “the high hat” have entrenched themselves into my lexicon. Byrne effortlessly swings from physical comedy to serious, a man foolishly chasing his hat. Harden is formidable and sultry as the woman pulling the strings of two powerful men. The chemistry between the two is captivating.
Miller’s Crossing is available to rent on Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, and Vudu for $3 and is worth the dollars. Multiple viewings are recommended to catch the dialogue and all those little tells that make the big plot twist come to a head.
Watch the trailer if you want, but it is pretty meh.