MILLER'S CROSSING (1990)
Far more sophisticated than anything the Coens had tried previously. It's a mature, poetic and elegant gangster film that balances affection and humor in equal measure. The complexity of the script is like a house of cards, where every little set-up is paid off and characters are never wasted. Gabriel Byrne's character is like a puppet master who struggles to maintain his dignity and pride (symbolic in his fedora), while Albert Finney's godfather-like portrayal is memorably grand. It's here where the Coens began to demand respect and it's a film they've rarely bettered.
Director: Joel Coen