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Before The Devil Knows You're Dead [DVD]

48 customer reviews

Price: £3.65 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, Marisa Tomei, Aleksa Palladino
  • Directors: Sidney Lumet
  • Writers: Kelly Masterson
  • Producers: Austin Chick, Belle Avery, Brian Linse, Carol Cuddy, David Bergstein
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Eiv
  • DVD Release Date: 26 May 2008
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001563HYY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,209 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Noir-ish crime-thriller from acclaimed director Sidney Lumet, about two money-hungry brothers who plan to rob their parents' business. When debt starts snapping at the heels of broker Andy Hanson (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), he comes up with a plan to solve his problems. Roping in his initially sceptical brother Hank (Ethan Hawke) with claims that 'nobody gets hurt, everybody wins', the pair target their parents' jewellery store, which they both know inside out. Events, however, take a turn for the worse when the would-be robbers meet with some unexpected resistance, setting in motion a chain of events that change the family's future forever.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mark Barry HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Mar. 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
When LED ZEPPELIN released "In Through The Out Door" in 1979 (their last studio album) - the famous design company HIPGNOSIS provided them with six different album covers hidden behind outer brown paper bags (the sleeves were identified as A, B, C, D, E and F on the spines). The wordless cover shot is a photo of a man sat on a barstool lighting a piece of paper with a match while five other people watch him do it - a barman, drinkers, a hooker in the corner over by the jukebox etc. So each of the six sleeves is the man lighting the piece of paper - but from their viewpoint - front (barman), sideways (drinker), behind (hooker)...

I mention all of this because Sidney Lumet's 2007 "Before The Devil Knows You're Dead" is the cinematic equivalent. The bulk of the film is a jewellery heist that goes disastrously wrong - but told from different angels and at different times. We get the day of the robbery, three days before the robbery, hours after the robbery. And each time we revisit a scene - we see the same stuff and people - but with more information presented to us that shows how and why the whole thing came apart - and more importantly - the truly horrible consequences that follow on from lies and greed.

30-something New Yorker's Andrew and Hank Hanson (Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke) have major financial problems. Hank (Andy's younger brother) has a daughter with his embittered and estranged wife Martha (Amy Ryan) who keeps demanding alimony payments and trips to The Lion King that he simply can't afford. Andy is adrift - his job - his love life - his kid - and his general lack of spunk towards people and decisions are quickly making him look like and feel like a loser.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 July 2008
Format: DVD
This is a thoroughly diabolical tale of just how bad things can go wrong. A simple robbery. Pick up some serious change. Get our finances together and everything will be hunky-dory. But--mom and pop's jewelry store? No problem. Insurance pays for it all. No guns. Nobody gets hurt. Easy money.

Older, more successful (it would appear) brother Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) has a few minor problems. Heroin addiction, cocaine habituation. A wife (Marisa Tomei) that...well, he can't seem to perform for. His flat belly days long gone. Younger, sweet, slightly dim-witted younger brother, Hank (Ethan Hawke) with a few dinero problems of his own. Behind in child support payments for his daughter, in debt to friends and relatives, not exactly wowing them in the work of work, etc.

Sydney Lumet, in this performance at the age of 82 (!), directs and gets it 99.99 percent right, which is hard to do in a thriller. I have seen more thrillers than I can remember and most of the time the director gets the movie printed and lives with the plot holes, the improbabilities, the cheesy scenes, and the hurry-up ending. Here Lumet makes a thriller like it's a work of art. Every detail is perfect. The acting is superb. The plot has no holes. The story rings true and clear and represents a tale about human frailty that would honor the greatest filmmakers and even the Bard himself.

Hoffman of course is excellent. When you don't have marquee, leading man presence, you have to get by on talent, workmanship and pure concentration. Ethan Hawke, who is no stranger to the sweet, little guy role, adds a layer of desperation and all too human incompetence to the part so that we don't know whether to pity him or trash him.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Jun. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead is directed by Sidney Lumet and written by Kelly Masterson. It stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Marisa Tomei, Albert Finney, Rosemary Harris and Amy Ryan. Music is scored by Carter Burwell and cinematography by Ron Fortunato.

Two brothers with differing financial problems plan to rob their parents' jewellery store. But when all does not go to plan and tragedy strikes, it sends them, and those close to them, into a world of fear, shame and violence.....

It opens with a raunchy sex scene, man and wife in the throes of committed passion, for these brief moments there is pleasure. Once over, though, it proves to be a false dawn, the last time anyone on screen will taste pleasure in Lumet's biting morality tale. From here on in the film unfolds in a dizzying array of multi-perspectives and over lapping of narrative structure, a three pronged assault on the senses as a family implodes in a haze of greed, lies and inadequacies. A botched robbery underpins the plotting, the aftermath of which is what is most cutting, we zip around learning the wherewithal and whys of the key players, learning exactly what we need to know to fully immerse in this bleak world. This is a world populated by love cheats, drug abuse, embezzling, bad parenting and blackmail, a world where the brothers Hanson (Hoffman & Hawke) now dwell, either ill equipped (Hawke's Hank) or stuck between idiocy and smug evil (Hoffman's Andy). Their folly, their greed, impacting with a juddering severity on the family circle.

My life, it doesn't add up. Nothing connects to anything else. I'm not the sum of my parts. All my parts don't add up to one...me.
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