Albert Finney chews his tongue and locks his jaw as Leo, an Irish mobster who controls the bookies, prize-fights, and rackets in some prehistoric city which may or may not be New York, but resembles the Universal backlot.
He loves a mumbling tramp named Verna (Marcia Gay Harden). Verna is Leo’s “twist” who hangs around so he’ll protect her from her brother Bernie Bernbaum (John Turturro).
When Verna starts sluttin’ around with Leo’s blank-faced “go-for” Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne), Leo turns nasty, Tom switches “grifts” to the Italian mob, pretends to kill Bernie to prove his loyalty to Leo, and everybody double-crosses everybody else while the walls splatter with brains.
Just about everyone dies, but you don’t care what happens to one single character in Miller’s Crossing.
Dark and clammy looking, further hampered by voices that are incoherent, this is a film in which every actor drones, screams, or babbles gibberish.
They’ve all got matches, toothpicks or cigarette butts clenched in their teeth when they’re supposed to be telling us something vital about the plot.
Leo guns down the Italian mob in a flaming house, leaps off the roof and blows up a car – all to the tune of Danny Boy on a gramophone.
It’s so pretentious it’s actually funny.
Marcia Gay Harden
J E Freeman
Mayor Dale Levander