Jonathan Crocker

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DVD review: Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead

Posted by Jonathan On June - 23 - 2008

beforethedevil1Powered by demonic black energy, Sidney Lumet‘s family crime thriller has all the ingenious, agonising horror of a Greek tragedy. The less you know the better – Kelly Masterson’s diabolical script just keeps opening trapdoors under your feet. And with each sickening drop, shock and twist, Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead grips tighter and tighter. Sex and violence light the fuse, as two cash-strapped brothers – real-estate sleazeball Philip Seymour Hoffman and hapless divorced dad Ethan Hawke – plot to rob a Mom-and-Pop jewellery store. Horrifically bungled, it sends them spiralling with gut-pulping velocity into an abyss of greed, sin and desperation. Performances are off the chart: Hoffman is an astonishing soul-sick powder-keg of repressed rage, Hawke a pitiable loser with a rubber backbone and Albert Finney stunning as their grief-mangled father. Three years after picking up his Lifetime Achievement Oscar, 84-year-old Lumet directs with the style and ferocity of 21st-century tyro. This guy could be one to watch… 

RATING:

EXTRAS:

  • Director: Sidney Lumet
  • Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, Marisa Tomei

Read the original article at Total Film.

One Response to “DVD review: Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead”

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Jonathan is a London-based journalist, critic and editor. He currently works for data visualisation agency Beyond Words.

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