Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 18
  2. Negative: 2 out of 18
Watch On
  1. The movie is artful to a fault, with too many characters sitting in perfectly arranged, immaculately lighted rooms and talking a lot. It contains near-classic sequences, though, and splendid performances. [28 Sept 1990]
  2. Barry Sonnenfeld's stunning cinematography and the sharply etched characterizations make this film one for the ages.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    100
    Cold and cut to the bone, the film is a primer in screen virtuosity. Standard action film clichés, like a face getting hit with a chair, get turned inside out; both film and actors somehow manage to seem realistic and stylized at the same time. [21 Sept 1990, Life, p.6D]
  4. 100
    As disturbing and densely beautiful as its opening image, a lofty forest that dwarfs the gangsters as they laugh over their kill.
  5. A masterpiece, but of a unique kind... A gorgeously filmed, supremely well-acted, intricately written film noir about now.
  6. Reviewed by: Lawrence O'Toole
    83
    If, however, you're looking for compelling characters, all the lights are blazing here but nobody's at home.
  7. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    100
    Substance is here in spades, along with the twisted, brilliantly controlled style on which filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen made a name.
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 105 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 27
  2. Negative: 1 out of 27
  1. Sep 13, 2010
    10
    The film maintains an elegant quality that comes to so natural to the seasoned directors, the actors are also held to that same position. TheThe film maintains an elegant quality that comes to so natural to the seasoned directors, the actors are also held to that same position. The thick plot is lovingly sprinkled with twists and turns that will keep you watching, interesting, and thinking. When the day is over, this is classic gangster movie material, the Coen Brother's are at the top of their craft. Full Review »
  2. Dec 29, 2013
    9
    This is my personal favorite of the early Cohen brothers films.

    It is a gangster film and works as an example of the genre, albeit with
    This is my personal favorite of the early Cohen brothers films.

    It is a gangster film and works as an example of the genre, albeit with slightly more cartoonish violence than you oils expect. However, the movie has deeper concerns on its mind. Those deeper theme reward repeat viewings.
    Full Review »
  3. Jan 20, 2012
    10
    Top-notch homage to noir crime flicks of '40s-'50s balancing with uncanny accuracy on the verge of piety and parody. Definitely one of theTop-notch homage to noir crime flicks of '40s-'50s balancing with uncanny accuracy on the verge of piety and parody. Definitely one of the most brilliant and maybe the greatest of all. Full Review »