• Post category:Movies
  • Post last modified:August 6, 2021

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

GREED. BETRAYAL. REVENGE. FAMILIES CAN BE MURDER.

Andy Hanson (Philip Seymour Hoffman) talks his younger brother (Ethan Hawke) into robbing their parents’ jewelry store; they’re both in dire need of money, but the heist goes awry. Director Sidney Lumet may be in his 80s, but that won’t slow him down; in this dark thriller about a family on a path to self-destruction, he and writer Kelly Masterson show a clear understanding of how their immoral characters work. There’s no one here to root for, but we’re nevertheless instantly drawn into this world. Lumet keeps it interesting, not least thanks to his clever narrative time jumps that become more than just a cheap gimmick. Excellent performances, especially by Hoffman.

2007-U.S.-Ireland. 117 min. Color. Produced byĀ Michael Cerenzie, William S. Gilmore, Brian Linse, Paul Parmar. Directed byĀ Sidney Lumet. Screenplay: Kelly Masterson. Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman (Andy Hanson), Ethan Hawke (Hank Hanson), Albert Finney (Charles Hanson), Marisa Tomei, Rosemary Harris, Aleksa Palladinoā€¦ Amy Ryan, Michael Shannon.

Last word:Ā ā€œI read the script and I was enchanted.Ā I thought it was a wonderful story. There’s nothing like good melodrama, and the continual surprises in the script just bowled me over […]Ā In most dramas, the story has to come out of the characters: this is such-and-such kind of person, and therefore this is the inevitable result. In a melodrama, it’s the exact reverse. The characters have to adjust to the demands of the story and justify their actions.ā€ (Lumet, Emanuel Levy)

 

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