1940-2014; not quite to 600 yet.
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
No one was supposed to get hurt.
When two brothers organize the robbery of their parents' jewelry store, the job goes horribly wrong, triggering a series of events that send them and their family hurtling towards a shattering climax.
Whenever people make lists with favourite or best directors, Sidney Lumet hardly ever pops up. That should change. Look at his filmography. He is one of the best directors that ever worked in the industry.
This film is modern noir at its finest. It is bleak, rather disturbing and dark as hell. The story, which unravels in an asynchronous chronology, is multilayered and keeps you guessing due to its fragmented narrative. Only a very talented director can add the much needed coherence a story like this needs.
What Lumet understands very well is to give his actors the right amount of space to inhabit their characters. There is not one weak performance here. The main cast is superb, moved along…
Dear god, what a dismal tale. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead is an exercise in taking an instance of 'it can't get any worse, can it?' and making it much, much worse in the very next scene. I certainly don't mean in the quality of the film, which is superb, but in the depths of misfortune one family can sink to. This is tragedy of such magnitude that The Bard himself would be proud, compounded by the fact that all the misfortune is due to greed and ineptitude. Sidney Lumet's swan song deserves a place in the pantheon of 'bleakest films ever,' which makes this familial train wreck all the more morbidly fascinating.
Not a single role here is…
After losing one of the best actors of our generation today, Philip Seymour Hoffman, I wanted to check more of his films. He left behind an amazing body of work and I've only seen maybe half of it. I started with Sidney Lumet's dark and brilliant noir Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.
The script here is so damn good. Keeping you invested in characters that are very unlikable. The cast is terrific, with Hoffman and Ethan Hawke both giving great performances. Albert Finney was probably the standout to me however. Not only is this yet another great performance from Hoffman, but it's one of 2007's most underrated films and a great film for Lumet to have ended his career with.
Sidney Lumet's Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead tells the story of three people from the same family, but on a Saturday morning on the outskirts of New York, everything seems normal in the life of the Hanson family. The father, Charles passed the driving test and his wife Nanette is going to the a family jewelery. As the eldest son, Andy is worried about a scheduled inspection of the finances for the following Monday and the younger brother, Hank, as usual, is worried about his money problems. However, at 7:58 a.m. Saturday morning, the lives of the members of this family will change because both Andy and Hank decide to rob their family's business.
If we look closely, Before…
Even though I saw this years ago, I was still completely surprised by everything that happened during this recent re-watch. All I remember from the last time I saw it was that I liked it. This time, I fell head over heels in love. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead is essentially a family drama masquerading as a crime drama. Andy and Hank are brothers in very different stages in their lives. When Andy asks Hank to rob a jewelry store, everything goes wrong and the rest of the film is concerned with how their lives fall apart and how fucked up their family is.
This is definitely Phillip Seymour Hoffman's best performance, and that's a big deal. He always…
It's quite astounding to realise Sidney Lumet filmed Before the Devil Knows Your Dead when he was over eighty years old, after five decades as a critically acclaimed director responsible for many genuine Hollywood classics, because though it's often quite masterfully put together it's also filled with the energy & skill of a man five decades his junior - and frankly many directors in their thirties don't make films this good. Sadly it was also Lumet's last film before his death a few years later, but what an epilogue to a triumphant career; this is by turns a carefully lensed, cleverly written, well edited and superbly acted drama ostensibly about a heist gone wrong but primarily about a deeply dysfunctional American…
Ever since I saw the wildly contrasting cuts of True Romance - the time-shifted Tarantino cut (as he wrote it) and the chronological Tony Scott cut (as he directed it) - I've been deeply suspicious of non-chronological filmmaking. Sometimes, it is essential to the telling of the story, and sometimes it's a vanity edit to add a layer to a tale which doesn't have enough of them inherent in it.
This story is so strong, so deadly, depressingly, unremittingly bleak, with as great a performance as you are likely to see from any of the leads, I don't know that the out-of-order cut makes any sense. I've slept on it, and I'm pretty sure that it doesn't add anything. The…
With a plethora of exceptional performances and an intriguing fractured-narrative device, Lumet cultivates an experience that is both moving and tense with characters that feel like actual people on trajectories that anyone could belong to if pushed to a certain point.
After his death, i m willing to watch all his movies, started with this one.... good decision.
Philip Seymour Hoffman rocks!
Marisa Tomei, please sit on my face.
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Sidney Lumet's final film, starred the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was himself closer to death than anyone realized at the time. For a film in which death plays such an integral part, those two passings cast a heavy shadow on the movie itself. Hoffman plays Andy Hanson, an embezzler in trouble, who convinces his impoverished brother Hank (Ethan Hawke) to rip off their own parents' (Albert Finney and Rosemary Harris) jewelry store. The robbery goes bad - real bad - and the family is left to pick up the pieces and figure out what went wrong. Before the Devil Know You're Dead is about men and how they handle their problems -…
Modern Greek Drama that actually honors its roots... ALL participant actors, bar none, are at their utmost. Wstch mundane problems that become epic through the course of its zig-zag timeline
This was the great Sidney Lumet's last film. Known for directing such classics as 12 ANGRY MEN, DOG DAY AFTERNOON, and NETWORK, Lumet was 82 at the time of this film's release, but you wouldn't know by watching it. There's a fierceness to it, heightened by the use of digital photography, that makes it feel like it was made by someone in their thirties.
There are flash backs, flash forwards, and differing points of view, techniques that could've come off as tacky in lesser hands, but Lumet pulls them off, settling once and for all the argument of whether or not old directors can still make great films. Had he lived to make more films, I'm sure Lumet would've readily adapted any number of new techniques and technologies.
Every film Roger Ebert has given a four-star rating. This is an ongoing project.
A Letterboxd community poll (though I post these in Facebook cinema discussion groups as well, so if anyone in those…