Round is a favorite Coen shape: the balloons in Raising Arizona, the hula hoop in The Hudsucker Proxy, the bowling balls in The Big Lebowski, not to mention the circular path that leads the movies’ schemers back to square one, except this time maybe dead.
Round too is the hat that flutters magically through the woods in Miller’s Crossing (7-minute mark). Tough men in hats who get lost in the forest of their ambitions is the theme of the Coens’ least facetious, most densely plotted film. Cuisinarting a couple of Dashiell Hammett novels — Red Harvest, which provided the milieu of a corrupt city ruled by warring gangsters, and The Glass Key, with its story of an aging boss and his young adviser involved with the same woman — the brothers serve up an epic battle of ethics and iniquity.
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