My five hundred favorite films (1940-2014)
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…
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)
Seen for a project.
Speaking of the project: can anyone read a script that I wrote and mail me the audio? I don't have a good accent nor the equipment to record this narration that I need. Please?
Equal parts crime thriller and tragic family melodrama. The film succeeds incredibly in both arenas due to an energetic script and the ever steady hand of Sidney Lumet. Ethan Hawke, Michael Shannon, and Albert Finney are really great, but predictably, Philip Seymour Hoffman is the standout. In a movie requiring big performances, Hoffman is asked to go the biggest and he nails it. A perfectly modulated performance: he can go from the largest, most commanding presence in a room to the smallest, most pitiful in the same scene. He oozes desperation and anger.
I've watched this movie many times and it never gets old. I am in awe. Add it to the list of masterpieces from 2007.
Marisa Tomei your sex appeal is God-Like. You are just too beautiful.
A Tour De Force in every way.
The whole cast is absolutely excellent. Rosemary Harris is great in the short time she's in this. Philip Seymour Hoffman, may he rest in peace, is the stand out in every way. On top form. That scene where he's sitting on the chair talking about his life "It's, uh... I'm not, I'm not the sum of my parts. All my parts don't add up to one... to one me, I guess." Oh my, I could have hugged him. And of course Marisa Tomei, Albert Finney, Michael Shannon and Ethan Hawke are excellent as usual.
This is my first ever Lumet film…
In my top 5 films of all time. Another Lumet masterpiece and probably his best film (imo). Hoffman is phenomenal. People always mention capote, but this should be a long with it.
Good performances from Hoffman, Finney and Tomei's breasts. Hawk needed to tone down his performance just a tad. The plot was dark and trgic, but always interesting. It's kind of amazing that an 84 year old director was behind this film.
Wow, talk about problem after problem after problem.
This is the first Sidney Lumet film i've watched and, I have to say, I loved it . The narrative is great and the performances are nothing but excellent (just look at Phillip Seymour Hoffman!).
A heist film that really brings out a depth of the repercussions to the consequences of crime and how it effects lives that few films in the genre delve into. Sidney Lumet has a great way of not straying away from the dark side of crime and the way he presents the characters (for better or worst) in all their grimy glory (thanks to the great performances Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke bring to the film) that packs a punch from the explosive opening scenes to its complex conclusions. Audiences may not like the characters, but there's no denying how well crafted their characters and the story are in the film.
My Take: A gripping thriller that I won't mind exploring again in the near future.
This movie is solid but despite powerful performances nothing really elevates it beyond any other decent thriller. The scrambled continuity is to its benefit at first but starts to wear toward the end. It's extremely dark and hopeless but I was never close enough to the characters to really care or sympathize much, apart from maybe the father. it was interesting to kind of sit back and watch these people self-destruct. It mostly has a good look to it but there are some cheesy editing choices. I was intrigued because of Lumet and I did enjoy it a lot. I would have been interested to see more digital films from him.
An excellent crime drama with an all-star cast. I enjoyed the uniquely structured storyline, which gave an in depth look at each characters dysfunction. It was a pleasant surprise to see Michael Shannon (who is one of my favorites) with a minor role.
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