Before The Devil Knows You're Dead 2007

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(42) IMDb 7.3/10
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When two brothers organize the robbery of their parents' jewelery store the job goes horribly wrong, triggering a series of events that sends them, their father and one brother's wife hurtling towards a shattering climax.

Starring:
Aleksa Palladino, Marisa Tomei
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 57 minutes
Starring Aleksa Palladino, Marisa Tomei, Amy Ryan, Ethan Hawke, Rosemary Harris, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Michael Shannon, Albert Finney
Director Sidney Lumet
Genres Drama, Thriller
Studio ENTERTAINMENT IN VIDEO RENTAL
Rental release 5 May 2008
Main languages English
Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 57 minutes
Starring Aleksa Palladino, Marisa Tomei, Amy Ryan, Ethan Hawke, Rosemary Harris, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Michael Shannon, Albert Finney
Director Sidney Lumet
Genres Drama, Thriller
Studio ENTERTAINMENT IN VIDEO
Rental release 5 May 2008
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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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2 of 2 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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. N. Daniau on 19 Jun 2008
Format: DVD
Nobody in the reviews seam to speak much about the photo, but that's what I liked best. The whole film looks like a polaroid, or maybe like a faded lomo shot, it's absolutely superb. The images of this film are going to stay with me for a very long time.
The actors are fantastic, I liked the second roles in particular, the tirade of the old diamond dealer (what a character!) is unforgettable. The plot is a somewhat classic heist plot, but with an underlying nagging pessimism.
The only film I can compare this film with, is Magnolia. But where Magnolia has a clean photo and an ultimately optimistic (or at least forgiving) world view, this one stays well anchored in the faded dark greens and bleak portraits of human nature.
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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
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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