Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
USA, 1990. Circle Films, Twentieth Century Fox. Screenplay by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, based on the novels Red Harvest and Glass Key by Dashiell Hammett. Cinematography by Barry Sonnenfeld. Produced by Ethan Coen. Music by Carter Burwell. Production Design by Dennis Gassner. Costume Design by Richard Hornung. Film Editing by Michael R. Miller. National Board of Review Awards 1990. New York Film Critics Awards 1990.
The Coen brothers get points for style and little else for this period gangster piece. Gabriel Byrne is boring as an advisor to a big-time Irish-American crime boss during Prohibition. Albert Finney and Jon Polito play rivals who get involved in a gang war when a small time bookie (John Turturro) cheats one of them and Byrne is left to try and keep peace between them. Marcia Gay Harden plays the femme fatale, but her part leaves her very little to do except preen. Maybe if you can stay awake you’ll figure out the rest of the plot, but for me it’s just a big haze of fedoras and cigars. Frances McDormand (aka Mrs. Joel Coen) makes a cameo appearance.