Before the Devil Knows You're Dead [2007] Movie Review Recommendation

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead [2007]

This is Sidney Lumet’s (Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Find Me Guilty) last movie, and it’s certainly worth watching. It belongs to the category of movies where things just go wrong for the characters, and unlike others, where there is a humorous and almost silly underlying, here nothing is funny or entertaining, it’s just raw life. You want to see these characters succeed in their attempts to save their family/wife/life but this is not the way things work out in real life. Life is a bitch, and then you die. I first liked Ethan Hawke, having seen him in Training Day and Tape, but after those movies, his career declined (at least in my eyes). Here, he was okay. And what to say about Philip Seymour Hoffman, alongside with Albert Finney, two experienced actors perfect for their roles, nothing but perfection. As a bonus we get Marisa Tomei, and she is naked most of the time, what more do you want? All this guided by the steady Lumet’s hand that’s created a fucked up thriller/drama that slowly reveals its charms as it progresses…

Andy and Hank are two brothers, a bit estranged but still in a good relationship. The thing that they have in common is the fact that both of them have money troubles. Hank is divorced and his ex-wife is hassling him for alimony money, with his daughter also in need of the green, and Andy is in a failed marriage looking to revitalize it with a solid infusion of the cure that heals all the problems. Andy, being the decision-making, confident one, convinces his brother that it is a good idea to rob their parents’ jewelry store. It is a victimless crime, planned very well and simple to execute. They know all the things they need to know and this seems like a thing that could save their lives. Their problems seemed relatively small and not so pressing at the beginning of the story but as it unfolds we soon learn that there are many more issues that keep surfacing. The day of the robbery is here, and from here it goes from bad to worse…

Director: Sidney Lumet

Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, Marisa Tomei, Michael Shannon

Fun Facts: Title taken from the Irish toast: “May you have food and raiment, a soft pillow for your head; may you be 40 years in heaven, before the devil knows you’re dead.”


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