This essay is a film review about the movie Millers Crossing directed by the Coen Brothers. Its a movie about organized crime and the bosses at the helm of it.

Essay by polok62College, UndergraduateA+, December 2003

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In my modest opinion, the film "Miller's Crossing" is Ethan and Joel Coen's greatest

achievement to date, even greater than Fargo and Oh Brother Where Art Thou. The only

criticism I've heard of this film has to do with the "over-acting"--a criticism that has been

directed at more than one Coen film. Admittedly, Coen screenplays read more like novels than

movie scripts and are not always actor-friendly.

The story starts with Tom (Gabriel Byrne), a loyal lieutenant of a crime boss named Leo

(Albert Finney) who is in a Prohibition-era turf war with his major rival, Johnny Caspar (Jon

Polito). A man of principle, Tom nevertheless is romantically involved with Leo's lover (Marcia

Gay Harden), whose screwy brother (John Turturro) escapes a hit ordered by Caspar only to

become Tom's problem. Making matters worse, Tom has outstanding gambling debts he can't

pay, which keeps him in regular touch with a punishing enforcer.

The friendship between Leo and Tom is severed when they both fall in love with Verna. Tom

joins ranks with Johnny Caspar, and a bloody gang war erupts. A little kingpin with an inferiority

complex, he is easily manipulated by Tom, who convinces him that his henchman Dane is in

cahoots with Bernie, allegedly Dane's homosexual lover. Whether straight or gay, the brutes find

it impossible to cope with their feelings, which erupt in a volley of bullets and bashed brains.

If Tom's heart is pierced at all, it is merely for taking the pulse of the times.

The Coens are playing a controlling game, the same as their cast of characters, and control

frustrates passion, irrevocably. Love among these gangsters is a hard-luck affair

With all the energy the Coens put into their films, and all their focused appreciation of genre

conventions and rules, and...