Miller's Crossing's strengths could be summed up by simply saying that the film is the Coen Brothers at their best - the fact that it's a gangster movie is merely an added bonus to fans of the genre. Following the relationship between mob angler/confidant Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne) and his boss Leo O'Bannon (Albert Finney) as war breaks out between rival Irish and Italian gangs in one small town, the combination of gangster movie and noir film tropes results in a story almost universally praised.
Drawing from the detective stories of Dashiell Hammett and the Coen Brothers' endless supply of enigmatic filmmaking techniques, Miller's Crossing has a script and cast that few films ever enjoy, despite it being a box office failure.
Byrne and Finney own the bulk of the story, but the performance turned in by John Turturro is truly one for the ages. It may not feature quite as much machine-gun fire or violence as our other favorite gangster films, but its dissection of the genre deserves as much praise as we can give it.