The Coen brothers' terrific tribute to film noir features one of the trademark complex plots about a scheming young political advisor caught in the shifting loyalties between two crime bosses when a war erupts over a bookie who has been cheating one of them. Its plot was inspired by the 1942 film The Glass Key, based on a Dashiell Hamett story and starring Alan Ladd, Veronica Lane and Brian Donlevy (an even earlier version featured George Raft and Claire Dodd). The Coens' version is much harsher with Gabriel Byrne as the utterly callous manipulator, running rings around the other characters, even though he doesn't really gain anything from it himself. There are flashes of the blackest humour like the scene where a gang is being ripped to shreds by machine gun fire to the strains of Danny Boy. The stalwart Coen supporting cast of Steve Buscemi and Jon Turturro add their own offbeat dimension to the film.
Director: Joel Coen Cast: Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden