What to Watch
I recently caught up with Bryan Singer’s latest run of X-Men movies and noted that he will not be helming next year’s X-men: Dark Phoenix. Equally he did not direct Jean Grey’s descent into darkness in his last run of the X-Men movies in 2000’s. Simply must not like the story! Not willing to dwell upon what he has not directed, I thought it would be a good time to go back and watch his break through film The Usual Suspects made in 1995.
The opening motif of his movies – ‘Bad Hat Harry’ with its outline of a lineup of suspects, references this movie. It is also the break through movie for Kevin Spacey, who would go on to win an Oscar for American Beauty four years later. Spacey is a controversial figure now, but it should not deter from the quality of his performances. In this movie he plays Verbal, an aptly named character through whom the story is told. The Usual Suspects is a very cleverly constructed movie with a remarkable ending (so kept it secret!).
The link to our similarly themed companion piece is Gabriel Byrne, who was the bigger star (than Spacey) at the time.
The Coen brothers’ Miller’s Crossing was made in 1990, and represents their 3rd movie after Blood Simple and Raising Arizona. Gabriel Byrne plays the lead character Tom Reagan, a mobster handicapped by his conscience. He really should have thought about his career choice!
The most striking element of this movie is the dialogue, which is meant to reflect the Prohibition period in 1920’s America. The language flows beautifully, but it does take a while for your ear to tune in. You may have to re-watch some scenes to get the gist of what is happening.
A typically unconventional Coen brothers movie and one of their best.
And if you are in the mood for the Coens in this sort of form then watch Fargo.