Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 26th, 2003
Tom (Gabriel Byrne) is adviser to Leo (Albert Finney), top boss of the Irish mob duringProhibition. Leo isn’t listening to Tom right now, and offends Johnny (Jon Polito), who leads theItalian gang. War between the rival mobs heats up, and Tom gets caught in the middle. I havejust oversimplified an incredibly complex plot, which you really should discover for yourself.Other discoveries that await are glorious cinematography by Barry Sonnenfeld, and endlesslyquotable dialogue… This is one of the great gangster movies, one that gets richer with each repeatviewing. Absolutely not to be missed.
Great sound. Let’s start with the dialogue, of which not a golden moment is missed. All themutterings and all the raging yells are crisply rendered. The music, heart-rendingly gorgeous, isalso served very well by the transfer. The sound effects are terrific too. They are constant,creating a total environment, and very well chosen. Even such details as faint white noise of thecity background during quiet scenes is present.
In the featurette, Barry Sonnenfeld comments that the film was designed to look“handsome.” Mission accomplished, and the same goes for the disc. The warm, earthy coloursare beautifully rendered. The contrasts are strong, as are the blacks and flesh tones. The print is infabulous shape, and I had to look hard to detect any edge enhancement. The format is 1.85:1anamorphic widescreen, preserving the marvellous deep-focus compositions. The layer transitionis, however, a bit clumsy.
A more elaborate set of extras would have been nice for a film of this importance. Still, whatis here is interesting. The main feature is a fairly lengthy interview with Sonnenfeld, whodiscusses not just Miller’s Crossing but how he came to work with the Coens, what his personalapproach to filmmaking is, and so on. Fascinating stuff. There are also clusters of interview biteswith Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden and John Turturro. Finally, there is a still gallery andtrailers for Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink and Raising Arizona. The menu is scored, and has ananimated introduction and transition to the film.
This is a movie that invites superlatives. The extras may be a bit thin, but the film itself is sostrong as to more than make up for that.
Special Features List
- Barry Sonnenfeld Interview
- Cast Interview Soundbites
- Still Gallery
- Theatrical Trailers