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Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

2008-03-11 08:11
What it's about:

When brothers Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Hank Hanson (Ethan Hawke) need cash, Andy comes up with a "fool-proof" plan to rob their parents' store, steal thousands of dollars and jewels and let their folks' insurance take care of the stolen inventory. But when things go horribly wrong during the robbery, Hank and Andy's dad (Albert Finney) swears vengeance against the thieves.

What we thought of it:

Director Sidney Lumet chooses an interesting way of telling Hank, Andy and Charles's story before, during and after the tragic day of the heist. But squeezing three stories into one simply turns Before the Devil Knows You're Dead into a 117-minute snore fest.

In what's suppose to be a suspense crime thriller, there are no action sequences to breathe life into the dying dialogue, dry emotionally dramatic scenes with no genuine feeling and a serious lack of fiery family confrontation.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke and Albert Finney deliver pretty mediocre performances, but each believable: Hawke as the bumbling idiot kid brother, Hoffman as the calculating, tortured eldest and Finney as the heartbroken, enraged father.

Were it not for the last 30-minutes, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead would've been a complete waste of time. Luckily for auds, the final scenes of Lumet's film delivers. But would you really sit through 100 minutes of boredom for 17 minutes of good old fashioned suspenseful, thrilling crime?

- Megan Kakora
Two brothers try to rob their parents' jewellery store, only to botch the job, in a 117-minute snore fest.

Jeremy 2008/01/08 12:49 PM
I DON'T AGREE Your reviewer Megan couldn't be more wrong. My girlfriend and I loved every minute of the movie: the cinematic style, the photography, the screenplay, the suppressed emotion, the grim piecing together of the jigsaw puzzle. Of course it's not a crime thriller -- the audience knows the basics of the plot within a few minutes -- it's a human drama. What makes the film special is the way the story unfolds, in the style of Short Cuts, 21 Grams, Lantana. The lack of emotion -- "emotionally dry scenes" -- is absolutely key to the film: it's more a family drama than a crime thriller (a dysfunctional family, the members of which cannot communicate nor express their feelings). The only love that exists is between the mother and father and that is destroyed by the sons! Shakespearean stuff -- the horror, the horror! As for "three stories squeezed into one" -- what nonsense. The story is very simple and told very simply. Megan, lovey, stick to reviewing Hollywood flicks with lots of car chases and
Geoff 2008/01/08 3:33 PM
before the devil know's youre dead Megan Kakora, whaddya know? Exactly as Jeremy says, it's not s'posed to be a crime thriller. Good all-round performances from all the cast made for a good afternoon at the theatre. You critics are too critical!
Busi 2008/03/04 2:33 PM
What did u say??? OK Megan love maybe you did not really want to watch this film or maybe you were feeling sick - whatever the case was, you really lost the plot. I was not going to comment - I was just browsing through the website UNTIL I saw the ratings you gave this movie -LOL *sigh*
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