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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…
BTDKYD quickly sheds pretensions of being a crime movie and slips into a deep and naked examination a broken paternal relationship and its devastating consequences for an entire family. Lumet's direction is smooth and assured, the drama compelling and the performances sharp. In any other year this would have had a great shot of walking away with an Oscar or two. As it stands, it'll just have to settle for holding its head high as one of 2007's better American films.
theyre so FUCKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You get to see Ethan Hawke's butt!
Given the subject matter, I certainly wasn't expecting a comedy or anything, but this was dark. Not an ounce of happiness exists in Lumet's (unfortunately) last film, and the dread you feel for the characters only continues to grow as they manage to get themselves deeper in trouble, even though it's their own faults. This is an incredibly smart film, and a nice swan song.
November 2016: Scavenger Hunt #20
TASK #19: A pre-2010 film shot on digital!
Fifty years after his directorial debut 12 Angry Men, acclaimed filmmaker Sidney Lumet delivers a wonderful career swan song with Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, with a screenplay by Snowpiercer co-writer Kelly Masterson and a great ensemble cast including Ethan Hawke, Marisa Tomei, Amy Ryan, Albert Finney, Michael Shannon, and the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman. Lumet’s direction in this film is superb, with gorgeous cinematography, expertly build up tension, and great editing. The way Lumet keeps things moving at a swift pace makes it hard to believe that a film this energetic was made by a man who was 80 years old at the time…
seen at the Museum of the Moving Image (35mm)
part of 'The Master: Phillip Seymour Hoffman' series
What a great way of filmmaking . Simple story from every angle and characters side .
Philip and Ethan was Astonishing in it .
Don't get me wrong, it's a really well made movie, which is why I went back to rewatch it. But I think I was in the wrong mood for it, the pace was too slow and I just didn' feel like piecing it all together from the flashbacks and different perspectives in the very uneven storyline.
This is a cold and calculated familial drama, drawn out along dire boundaries and told with tense grace in the most distressing ways possible. What Sidney did for his last film was scale back the scope of his characters and their trials and instead streamlined it into a very specific story told with such complex understanding of what he is conveying. What begins as a simple heist film blows up exponentially to envelop a multitude of buried family history and personal problems that arrests the senses for its conservatively short running time. It gets a lot of dimensions across, and considering Lumet's layering of his narrative the film unfolds elegantly even as it digs into more and more despicable ideas. Simply put, it's tense, its arresting, and it contains wall to wall career making performances from the likes of Finney, Hawke and the late great Hopkins.
Step One: Go to www.random.org.
THE MOST COMPLETE LIST OF NEO NOIR FILMS ON LETTERBOXD.
The film noir genre generally refers to mystery and crime…
Movies that have such a powerful/memorable/weird/insane/awesome/surprising last scene (or shot) that made you say "THAT ENDING!!!!!" or variations