Miller's Crossing (1990)
Arguably the most accomplished of the Coen brothers' films to date, this 1930s mafia/crime-story is intriguing and complex, and unveiled with a brilliant sense of suspense. This is one of the brothers' most classically narrative films, and it is told in a brooding, somewhat contained fashion which is appropriately stylized and psychologically realistic at the same time.
Gabriel Byrne stars as an emotionally detached, non-violent and cunning loner who finds himself locked between the two leading mafiosos in an eastern-American city. His character might look typical, but he's not. The brilliant screenplay is not based on characters acting as expected by the plot – it is a wisely constructed character-relation drama that combines depth with the Coens' delightful and well-balanced humour. Byrne's performance is one of his best. He manages to come off as a hard-boiled anti-hero while at the same time conveying well-ignited bits of real emotion. The dependable Turturro also does incredibly well – especially in a couple of crucial scenes, while Albert Finney is a pleasure to watch as a powerful but not too bright mafioso. The photography (by Barry Sonnenfeld) is complementing the Coens' stylish visuals.