MILLER’S CROSSING
1990, 20th Century Fox, 115 min, USA, Dir: Joel and Ethan Coen

Joel and Ethan Coen’s brilliant, atmospheric tribute to 1930s gangster melodramas is full to the brim with venomous one-liners and a catalog of characters worthy of any pre-WWII James Cagney/Warner Bros. picture. Bitter Gabriel Byrne is adviser to sentimental but tough gang boss Albert Finney in a small Northeastern town. But their complacently corrupt burg is about to erupt in violence when nouveau-riche newcomer Jon Polito and his merciless, grim reaper of an enforcer (J.E. Freeman) make a play for the big time. The supporting cast - including Marcia Gay Harden and John Turturro - is superb, all getting to voice some of the most vitriolic dialogue this side of 1957’s SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS. “The Coens are artists too, and their cool dazzler is an elegy to a day when Hollywood could locate moral gravity in a genre film for grownups.” - Richard Corliss, Time


THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE
2001, Focus Features, 116 min, USA, Dir: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Joel and Ethan Coen’s haunting tale of passion, crime and punishment, all presented in glorious black-and-white. Billy Bob Thornton stars as Ed Crane, a barber in a small Northern California town in 1949 who is dissatisfied with his life - until his wife’s (Frances McDormand) infidelity presents Ed with an opportunity for blackmail that he thinks will help him to change it. However, Ed’s scheme soon unravels and lays bare even darker secrets before leading to murder. Co-starring Michael Badalucco, James Gandolfini, Jon Polito, and a young Scarlett Johansson.


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