Miller's Crossingi is a story of a perfect world, which also happens to be the world I was born into - but apart from that coincidence (for which I am quite grateful, obviously) there's really no connection between the two.
Byrne plays an Irish consigliere, which makes no sense as the Irish didn't do it that way, and moreover he's ungodly young for that position. His boss is a complete idiot who gives himself the lie within five minutes and keeps a girlfriend on bad terms. The girlfriend in question (Marcia Gay Harden) is about as plain old unattractive as you can get, and carries a strange hairy bird's nest on her head at all times - all of which works great for the role. The bad terms are that her brother's to be protected. Her brother's a rotten faggot, the exact historical trope that gave manham artists a bad name. Now whether this is because they were faggots or because of the oppressive circumstances of faggotry at the time isn't anyone's concern - the main point is that people didn't piss on fags because people were "ignorant" or mean or whateverthehell. People pissed on fags because Bernie Bernbaum.
Jon Polito is absolutely fantastic as the eye-tee underlying of Byrne's boss that meanwhile got too big. In fact, the opening scene, a confrontation between the mick and the greaseball, with their respective shadows, covering matters of, hell, I'm not ashamed to say it, ethics, the jungle and anarchy is so good I had to replay it. You've not seen acting of this caliber since Nicole Kidman was pretending to like Tom Cruise (or, I guess, that chick with the legsii Michael Douglas). Anyway, he's upset that the girlfriend's brother is chiseling his fixes, and did I mention the girl's also doing Byrne ? Then there's car chases, dead bodies, machine gun fire, the chief of police and the mayor (which, incidentally, are working in absolutely the only manner they may ever be allowed to work - so if you're into a public career watch this film twice and get it well into your head!) and eventually everybody's dead, pretty much. Which works out to the advantage of the donkeys, who unlike the wops have multiple spare lives.
The dialogue's well thought out and flows, the whole story makes sense - the Coens! yet for some inexplicable reason this isn't universally recognised as the best work of their entire career - which it unreservedly is. I suspect the problem is purely ideological, much like junior high kids don't want to read the books on the reading list, government employees don't like to watch the mandatory instructional videos for their chosen career.
Their loss. See this with a girl, wait for the scene about an hour in where Verna proposes Tom do or don't do on the grounds that he loves her, say "heh, he doesn't care enough". If she protests dump her, she's too stupid for this life.———