8 June 2013 | preston-luther
Miller's Crossing is a film containing characters of the gangster genre occupying a noir-style world. Visually, the film holds up with other Coen Brother films in terms of its style, which includes elaborate set designs, costumes, landscapes, etc. Visually, the film is magnificent and eye-catching.
Where the film falters lies in its dialogue. A staple of Coen Brothers' scripts, particularly their earlier films, involves characters who possess an uncharacteristically sharp tongue and wide vocabulary. Miller's Crossing is no different. Don't get me wrong, the dialogue is well-written, but at times too well-written. Characters speak so fluently in wise-cracking threats that their eloquence undermines their threats. The audience, rather than invest care in the characters, instead marvels at their wit and articulacy. But again, this isn't to say that the dialogue is bad. In fact, most will probably find the characters and dialogue appealing.
The plot does not become apparent until after the credits roll. For the beginning of the film, characters speak swiftly back and forth, referencing off-screen characters nobody in the audience has yet seen. This may lead to some confusion regarding what in tarnation is happening, which subsequently may lead to a lack of emotion or care invested into the story by the viewer(s). Ultimately, Miller's Crossing is one of those films you're going to have consider in retrospect in order to piece it together.
Albert Finney and Jon Polito offer tremendous performances as respective racketeer bosses. Gabriel Byre successfully plays Tom Reagan, a man caught in the middle of the warring mobsters. The wonderfully gifted John Turturro plays the two-timing Bernie Bernbaum. For this role, the Coens couldn't have scripted anyone better than Turturro, who in one instance can seem sputtering and weak 'til the next scene in which he confidently points a gun in someone's face.
Overall, Miller's Crossing is a good film that possesses many reasons to watch it; though ultimately you may find yourself having to watch it again.