Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Sidney Lumet – 2007) A

A very simple caper where no one is supposed to get hurt goes horribly wrong. On the surface this sounds like many a film with a similar premise, but it is not. We see the story from several points of view and through various time lines. Throughout we learn more and more about the players. We meet the conspirators, brothers played by the superb Philip Seymore Hoffman and Ethan Hawke, and their different reasons for robbing their dad’s jewelry store! The more we learn about them and their motives, the more depressing the whole thing gets and of course more fascinating. Ultimately, this film is about human nature and what lows some are willing to stoop to for cash and drugs. Marisa Tomei as the wife of one brother and the lover of the other is excellent here and the father, played by Albert Finney, is wonderful as the only genuine decent human being in the story. Even he does not get out of the whole mess unscathed once all is said and done. What a depressingly well conceived film this is.

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