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Tom Reagan is the laconic anti-hero of this amoral tale which is also, paradoxically, a look at morals within the criminal underworld of the 1930s. Two rival gangs vie for control of a city where the police are pawns, and the periodic busts of illicit drinking establishments are no more than a way for one gang to get back at the other. Black humour and shocking violence compete for screen time as we question whether or not Tom, right-hand man of the Irish mob leader, really has a heart.
...joke-heavy and bullet-riddled and studded with some of the most crackling dialogue heard since 'The Front Page.'
August 19, 2011
Loosley based on Hammett's novel and Chicago's Capone-O'Bannion gang war, the film is more impressive visually than thematically, though new angle of placing Irish, Italian, and Jewish gangsters in the same tale is intriguing.