Monday, February 13, 2012

Movie of the Week – Miller’s Crossing

This week’s movie is Miller’s Crossing (1990).

The gangster film is about Tom Regan, a man who sees all the angles. Tom gets caught between two crime bosses when he tries to keep the peace after his long-time boss makes a poor decision because of a girl he’s sweet on. It is The Coen Brothers’ (Joel and Ethan) third film (and I would argue their first great film). They worked with composer Carter Burwell (who has scored almost every Coen Brothers film), cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld (who shot their first three films before becoming a director himself – probably best known for directing the Men in Black series) and production designer Dennis Gassner (his first film with them, but he went on to design many of the their films to follow). The film also has a fantastic cast, filled with frequent collaborators: John Turturro, Jon Polito, Steve Buscemi, Michael Badalucco, and Frances McDormand (plus a brilliant cameo by Sam Raimi). It stars Gabriel Byrne and features Marcia Gay Harden and Albert Finney in support. The Coen Brothers bring their particular brand of filmmaking to the gangster genre with this film – it has wonderful dialog, brutal violence and all the typical motifs and themes of the genre, and yet the Coen Brothers also have fun with it exaggerating some of its elements for comedic effect. It is sort of a strange film in that way – it is funny, but mostly plays as a straight crime drama. The Coen Brothers are among the great auteur filmmakers of their generation (or really of any generation) and this is a must-see for fans of their work, as well as fans of gangster films. Check out the trailer.

Available on Blu-ray and DVD

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