Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

2007

Crime / Drama / Thriller

20
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 88%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 71%
IMDb Rating 7.3 10 98477

Synopsis


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March 31, 2021 at 07:53 AM

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.05 GB
1280*694
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
1 hr 56 min
P/S 5 / 24
2.15 GB
1920*1040
English 5.1
R
23.976 fps
1 hr 56 min
P/S 4 / 34

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by masonmorgan-92917 9 / 10

An Underrated Masterpiece That Sticks With You

As a last film for a truly legendary director, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead can only be described as a haunting, underrated masterpiece that any viewer will not soon forget.

The film consists of an all-star cast, including the likes of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Marisa Tomei and Albert Finney. Even Michael Shannon shares a brief, but memorable, bit of run time. The casting was excellent all around and there were no characters that felt out of place or unnecessary to the story. Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke specifically were the best either of them have ever been. The solid script and carefully written dialogue shared between the two main characters delivers some of the film's most riveting moments. And the "car scene" is one of Hoffman's most memorable on-screen moments. Those of you who have seen the film will know what I am referring to and those unaware are in for a treat.

The story, while simple and admittedly not too original, manages to effectively show the characters' descent into violence and madness while jumping to before and after the event in which the movie revolves around. While sometimes the movie holds our hand a little too much with the story telling, I appreciated the fact that this movie wanted us to never be confused or lost within the time-jumping narrative. I was always aware of where our characters were and what point of the story I was witnessing.

Now I have seen many comparisons between this film and the masterpiece known as Fargo, and while it shares the same theme of "simple crime gone horribly wrong" Before The Devil Knows You're Dead is not a darkly comedic venture. In fact, this movie is rarely anything but somber and hopeless. This is not a bad thing though as it seems that this was the director's intent. Delivering a powerful message through spurts of violence and intensity while never straying from the realm of reality within the movie. The violence and thrills are handled very well and are, at times, extremely intense.

Now with all that said, there is only one thing that stopped the movie from being perfect and that is the ending. Normally when following characters throughout a movie we like to see how their story ends. It is common in all basic story telling. The importance of this cannot be stressed enough, especially if we are following a certain character throughout the entire film. Viewers want to know what happened to the character they have been following for the past two hours, but this movie denies you of that. It leaves the fate of the character out of view, and while that works for some movies, I sadly don't think it was the right choice here. Seeing all the things that this character has gone through and leaving it unfinished before the movie is over feels incredibly abrupt and doesn't fit with the rest of the movie.

Despite this issue, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead is a masterpiece from a truly talented director. A tight written script brought together by superb acting and thrills, this is definitely a movie you should make time for.

Reviewed by nturner 10 / 10

Definitely Not a Feel-Good Movie

I must admit that this is the type of film that I would normally eschew, but I rented it basically because of the stars. I certainly was not sorry. In fact, as you see, I rated it five stars. This film is the perfect combination of sharp directing and superior acting.

Andy and Hank Hanson are brothers who decide to commit the uncouth crime of robbing their parents' jewelry store. The crime goes terribly wrong - thus beginning an examination of the three men in the Hanson family. Through a series of flashbacks, we get to know Charles Hanson and come to an understanding of the strained relationship between father and sons.

Younger brother, Hank is basically a screw-up. He has always had trouble holding a job and pretty much goes in the direction of the wind. Hank is insecure, cowardly, and very much under the influence of his big brother. Ethan Hawke has the character of Hank "nailed to a T" and gives what is probably his best performance thus far. He shows us a man who is basically good-hearted but so influenced by outside forces that he is unable to follow through with any important task.

Andy - on the surface - appears to be a successful businessman, but we soon discover that he is addicted to drugs and has been embezzling from his company to pay for his habit. It is Andy who concocts the scheme to rob his parents' store, and he gets weak-willed Hank to commit the act. Philip Seymour Hoffman - surely one of the finest actors of our time - plays Andy. Hoffman is an actor who has the ability to portray a man who, on the surface, is a charming businessman liked by his acquaintances but a real slime ball underneath. He is absolutely perfect for the part of Andy or it might be said that he, through his superior acting skills, made Andy the perfect part.

Albert Finney plays a father common to his generation. Charles Hanson is not a bad or unfeeling man, but he has a lousy relationship with his sons because he never really understood what was necessary in nurturing a positive bond between his sons and himself. He has always been too quick to criticize and admonish. He always made it clear that he favored his younger son over his older thus causing a wide emotional rift between himself and Andy. As we get to know Charles and Andy, the thought of Andy forming a plan to rob from his father becomes less unbelievable.

On a personal note, I cannot believe how much Charles Hanson reminded me of my own father, and how much Andy and Hank reminded me of my own brother and myself. Perhaps this may be one of the reasons that I enjoyed the film so much as this story of a distant, critical father, a more successful older brother, and a less successful younger brother hit so close to home. Fortunately, my brother and I never came to the state of committing a crime against my parents- guess we were made of sterner and more moral stuff.

This complex of personalities and actions has been expertly put together by director, Sidney Lumet. At eighty-three, he still has the chops to give the audience engrossing characters and edge-of-seat action that hypnotizes. 12 Angry Men was his first film made fifty years prior to Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, but he hasn't lost any bit of his magic touch in showing us characters that will be long remembered.

The events and characters in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead are harsh and unattractive, and this is definitely not a feel-good movie. However, it is two hours of ultimate entertainment which I thoroughly recommend.

Reviewed by richard_sleboe 9 / 10

More than the sum of its parts

Says Andy: "Nobody gets hurt, everybody wins." Before he says it, we know the opposite is true: Everybody gets hurt, nobody wins. This is a new strand in American movies, or perhaps an old strand brought back at long last. Think "Eastern Promises", "There Will Be Blood", "No Country for Old Men". These movies are dark, serious, extremely well made, and don't care about happy endings. I love them. "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" fits the general description, but creates an atmosphere all its own. Kelly Masterson's debut script is as close as a Hollywood movie will ever get to a Greek tragedy. Paying tribute to fellow veteran director Stanley Donen, Sidney Lumet expertly and soberly turns the sombre story into an outstanding, old school character drama. The opening shots, although of an obese accountant doggy-styling his trophy wife, have the look and feel of a Dutch master's painting. By contrast, the drug dealer's condo looks more like a string of Mondrians. Great performances all around. Only Albert Finney's character Charles feels a little over-acted, eyes wide and mouth agape almost all the time. But then he is in trouble deep, deeper than any of the troubles most of us will ever know. For compensation, Marisa Tomei is super hot. But of course you don't need me to tell you that. Why her character Gina would want to be with a guy like Andy, we're never told, but that's okay. Action is character, after all. The unique and magic touch of Carter Burwell's music makes this fine movie a masterpiece. Don't miss it.

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