Synopsis: The smart and manipulative Tom Reagan puts himself in the middle of a power struggle between two rival mob bosses, leading to a game of survival in a land of prohibition and corruption.
• A well acted and executed plot.
• Filled with as much class and finesse as psychopathy.
• There are no true heroes or villains.
• Slowly paced at times, and perhaps too heavily layered.
• Though not out of context, the truly violent scenes almost feel thrown at the viewer.
• The whole time one must wonder how someone can succeed at such exquisite manipulation, sometimes by chance, and yet normally loose bets in a city where many fights are fixed.
The Coen Brothers never like to make a film that is truly of a singular genre, as this film is not wholly a crime drama. The film is a poker player, whose stone face never reveals their hand unless necessary. It was clear plans were in place and when they were quickly adjusted, but they were unclear until they came to fruition. The real core of the film, however, is the psychopathy of love: the love of a hat, gambling, the forbidden person, and an old friend and boss. It becomes a film about survival in a violent world when the love of all those things falls into conflict. Our antihero, Tom, tries almost desperately to keep blood off his heart, but seems to realize by the end that all he loved destroyed his heart long ago. We do not have to like him, but we cheer him on anyway. He might very well have been the only one doing the “right” thing, or the closest thing to “right” in that world. All that seems left after it all was his survival and that next loosing bet.
Rotten Tomatoes — 91%