Before the Devil Knows You're Dead Sidney Lumet

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead Sidney Lumet
Two men in financial trouble make a reluctant pact to rob a mom and pop suburban jewellery store in a heist that has no downside and can’t go wrong. Sound familiar? Sure - and never in the history of cinema has such a heist had no downside and not gone wrong. The storytelling devil, as they say, is in the details. In this case, the two men are brothers: the meek but desperate one (Ethan Hawke) and the ruthless, dominating one (Philip Seymour Hoffman). The store they want to rob is their parents’. Before you can say, "put it in this bag” and "don’t touch that alarm,” people are shot, car chases ensue and a giant bloody mess propels the action forward. Back to the devil, and those details: directed by Sidney Lumet, as giant a titan still in a director’s chair as there is (a resume that ranges from 12 Angry Men to Dog Day Afternoon and Network) at the age of 86, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead crackles with intensity, particularly in three lead performances, adding Albert Finney as Pops to that trio. Lumet remains nimble of mind, schooling his cast on the vagaries of melodrama, and jumping wholeheartedly into shooting with digital cameras — "anyone who resists is a fool,” he relates in a "making of.” Though that featurette gives a sense of Lumet’s work ethic, the treat of the film is a commentary with the director, Hawke and Hoffman, full of intelligent banter and genuine respect. Not a film that reinvents the wheel he’s already made more than a couple of improvements on, Lumet demonstrates that the thrill of a crackling good story, well told and executed in an intelligent and compelling manner, never gets old. (Mongrel Media)