THE COEN BROTHERS’ MILLERS CROSSING — A MINI-REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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The 1990 crime film Miller’s Crossing is one of my favorite films from the Coen brothers, a neo-noir gangster movie that gets better and better with each viewing, fully showcasing the Coen’s estimable gifts as storytellers and stylists, with bracing and dark wit balanced by stark violence, creating a rich, dense cinematic world that unfolds with sinister calm. Starring Gabriel Byrne, John Turturro, Marcia Gay Harden, Steve Buscemi, Mike Starr, Albert Finney, Jon Polito, and J.E. Freeman, the plot hinges on rival gangs and how one man navigates the tricky and duplicitous waters of engaging with both sides. Shot with formal precision by Barry Sonnenfeld (he also shot Raising Arizona and Blood Simple for the Coens) and judiciously edited by Michael R. Miller (Raising Arizona, Orgazmo), the film boasts a superb musical score from Coen-mainstay Carter Burwell (Fargo, Being John Malkovich), with everyone in the ensemble delivering pitch-perfect performances. Despite not finding a supporting theatrical audience, Miller’s Crossing has become a cult favorite in the years since its big-screen release, and one of the better offerings this genre has provided in decades. Look out for Sam Raimi and Frances McDormand in small roles, while the nods to Dashiell Hammett ground the film with a literary quality that kicks it up another notch.

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