Before the Devil Knows You're Dead - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead Reviews

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May 19, 2018
wonderful! i've never seen characters that stressed.
½ March 22, 2018
This is a Sidney Lumet directed, Ethan Hawke/Philip Seymour Hoffman/Marisa Tomei starring robbery thriller movie - you cant blame me for expecting to be blown away. Instead, it's a relatively straightforward thriller chunked up and made non-chronological for...reasons. Characters act in all sorts of incomprehensible ways (why didnt PSH inform them the jewelery glass case would be reinforced? Why did PSH start flagrantly murdering so many people?) and you really feel nothing for just about any of them. So I don't know. It's good, but certainly not great.
January 24, 2018
Brilliant thriller, full of wonderful performances. But Hoffman is a masterpiece, he's so believable and outstanding, it's remarkable, you can literally feel how his character seethes with anger. You can re-watch this movie just for the sake of his performance. The movie itself is a nail-biting experience, it doesn't drag, all scenes are contributing to the story in equal proportion, and the story is exemplary too: excessive desire for money is wrong and it could lead to unpredictably bad consequences.
December 30, 2017
This heist-gone-wrong movie is slow moving and brooding. The acting is good, except for Ethan Hawke and Albert Finney. Was Hank supposed to be mentally challenged? Never been a Finney fan. Overacts terribly. This pathetic excuse for a family just wasn't interesting enough to get worked up about. The best thing about the movie is Marisa Tomei. She's the only reason I'm giving it a passing grade.
½ December 26, 2017
Before The Devil Knows You're Dead is one of those wonderful "oh fuck" kind of movies, where your characters dig themselves into such deep holes that you can't help but be actively engaged. Suspenseful and powerful, the film shows you the limits at which a person will go to for happiness. It may not be reach the cinematic heights of Lumet's own "12 Angry Men" and "Network," but doesn't lack in comparison. Great performances all around and worth every penny.
December 26, 2017
The rationale behind the actions taken by the characters are subject to your interpretation. Excellent plot.
½ July 10, 2017
It was okay. Story was good, but it was done in an unnecessarily "artsy" way. Artsy for the sake of being artsy, not for the furthering the plot or quality of the film. As Peter Griffin would say, "It insists upon itself". Great acting, though.
May 5, 2017
I enjoyed actors Ethan Hawke and Philip Seymour Hoffman and really loved seeing Richard Lublin in two of the films scenes.
April 21, 2017
Catchy name but the movie itself is far less inspiring. Seems to just run through the motions with no real tension/excitement along the way. Was tempted to give it 5 stars for Marisa Tomei's opening scene!
March 22, 2017
It was good, I guess. But not really tense or a thriller. More like a wannabe depressing melodramatic soap opera. Campy even. Bad turns to worse, and kinda cliche. Acting was great but I couldn't dive into the story far enough to become emotionally invested. Call me sadistic but it was laughable at times, the opposite reaction of what they were trying for.
½ March 12, 2017
It's an interesting story that jumps around a lot and the performances are great, but something just seemed to be missing...still worth watching (especially if you are a Tomei fan, she is naked often).
January 26, 2017
One of the most notorious acting of Philip Seymour Hoffman
September 17, 2016
Dirty rotten scoundrels these men are, but they weren't born that way - evidently there was a time in which they were sanguine, aware of their neuroses but not overpowered by them. But in the years that have gone by since their promising younger days, the effects of bad marriages, of failed attempts at parenting, of troubled childhoods, and of addiction, they've become possessed by desperation; they'd do just about anything to get out of their particular pits of despair.
These men, Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Hank (Ethan Hawke), are brothers, but their resemblance has less to do with their set of shared genetics and more to do with the way they're experiencing severely punishing midlife crises. While Andy's recently married his mistress, Gina (Marisa Tomei), marital bliss is hardly a given, and the stresses of his corporate job, paired with a crippling cocaine habit, have left him both pressed for happiness and money. Hank, sinuously having an affair with Gina on the side, lived an idyllic a few years ago, but he's divorced now, and his wife (Amy Ryan) is hateful and his teenage daughter is resentful.
Because they're strapped for cash and are generally overcome with the desire to break out of the prison of their lives, Andy despicably ropes Hank into a plan bound to fail and bound to break the already creaky ground they're currently standing on. The plan, idiotic and unsightly, involves the two robbing a jewelry store run by their parents (Albert Finney, Rosemary Harris). They know the structure of the outfit, anyway, and no one'd suspect the children of businesspeople to stoop to thievery to victimize their own kin.
But, alas, unwise plotting and sad incompetence on the part of Andy and Hank designates the conspiracy as a failed criminal stab before it even begins. "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" is not a standard heist thriller but a psychological drama that just so happens to feature a heist and a couple of tactile scenes of suspense. Unraveling non-linearly, with its climax executed early on and its developing of characters separated and characterized by first person focus, the film's all-seeing, free-wheeling design, reminiscent of "Pulp Fiction" or "The Killing," increases its depth.
Since we see several aspects of the movie's characters at once, watching them at their most comprehensively affected immediately, we're better able to understand what drives these people even before the first act commences. And that empathy, drawn from Kelly Masterson's outstanding screenplay, is the very thing that signifies that the putrid characters at the center of "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" are so crooked as a result of slow-in-the-making hopelessness, not out of inherent, two-dimensional cinematic deviousness.
So we manage to root for them, if only because their pathetic essences elicit a strange sort of sympathy. Hoffman, as passionately morose as ever, is superb as a man living as the shell of his formerly confident, powerful self, with Hawke convincing us that he really is the pitiful loser that is Hank. Best of all, though, is Finney, whose supporting performance turns out to be the most heartbreaking, most poignant thing about the film.
Remarkably, "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" is the swan song of Sidney Lumet ("Network," "Running On Empty"), among Hollywood's most dependable and influential artists. While eighty-three during production and a recent recipient of the Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award, the film proves to be one of his most interesting efforts. And what an exciting thing that is: like Luis Buñuel, the Spanish auteur who manufactured some of his best features in his later years, Lumet's the kind of virtuoso to continue challenging himself despite having a reputation respectable enough to allow for retirement. I guess a true great never loses their mojo, and Lumet is unquestionably one of them.
Super Reviewer
September 15, 2016
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead is a crime drama directed by Sidney Lumet and stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, and Marisa Tomei. Andy (Hoffman), in a strained marriage with Gina (Tomei) and struggling financially, recruits his younger brother, Hank (Hawke), to commit a robbery. Revealing any additional info would spoil the movie, so I'll leave it at that.

The best aspect of this movie is its quality acting. PSH was always reliable when it came to delivering a well-developed character, and this movie is no exception. Marisa Tomei also gives a strong performance and had great chemistry with both Hoffman and Hawke, who was ok. I also really enjoyed the story and it's twists and turns along the way. Lumet did a great job pacing this movie to keep things interesting throughout; I never felt bored with the 2-hour runtime.

The one big negative I have with this movie is the non-sequential execution. I'm not opposed to movies that aren't presented in chronological order, but only when it's used in an effective way to reveal plot information. The first half of this movie leading up to the events of the robbery is great because the sequencing works well with the information being presented. It's the second half of the movie after the robbery when the sequencing feels more like a gimmick than an effective tool.

Overall, this is an enjoyable crime film. If you like PSH, you'll really appreciate his performance here. It's not a masterpiece, but Before the Devil Knows You're Dead is worth a watch.

Final grade: B

-Ben
½ September 14, 2016
"Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" - the title is based on an old Irish toast - does not reside in the far reaches of high art. It's just a caper melodrama. Still, it's an invigorating, refreshing, and unusual thing to see one done so expertly.

Both siblings have money problems and their neat solution is to plan a heist on a 'mom and pop' jewelry store. The sting is that the mom and pop in question are their own. In the grand tradition of heist movies, their plan unravels quickly because clearly no one knows what their really doing. Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) subcontracts the job of the heist itself to Hank (Ethan Hawke) who, unable to face it, subcontracts it to an even more inept work colleague. The results are predictably violent and chaotic. With the burden waving on their consciences, the two embark on an ever more desperate endeavor.

A well-made suspense thriller, a devastating story with exceptional direction and first-rate acting. No question about it. But at the end of the day, the severity of the impact of this tragic conclusion is not nearly as poignant due to an inadequate attachment to the brothers. Two protagonists who are self-centered individuals who are going to get theirs no matter the cost or consequence. Ethan Hawke deftly sketches Hank, the nearest thing to a likable character, as a terrified idiot who might be lovable, if it wasn't for his willingness to be talked into armed robbery.

Screenwriter Kelly Masterson structures the story with a series of flashbacks, which follow individual characters in the days leading up to the robbery. Each segment advances the action a little past the crime, and then, once the audience has caught up with the colorful backstory, he discards the flashbacks and pushes the narrative forward.

This is not classic Sidney Lumet, but it's ample evidence that after more than 40 years working in this business, the director is still capable of crafting an entertaining and thought provoking motion picture.
July 4, 2016
Tense and mortified are the two best ways to describe this movie. I bought it on a whim from the Blockbuster 4 for 20 bin, and and that turned out to be a steal.
½ June 27, 2016
Brilliantly acted this film takes these two brothers from bad to worse. Ethan Hawke and Phillip Seymour Hoffman play brothers Hank and Andy in this Sidney Lumet flick.  Both fallen on hard times financially (Hank more so than Andy), Andy imagines the perfect crime.  Knock over a mom and pop jewelry store.  Andy says the insurance will cover the robbery so no one will get hurt.  The only problem is the "mom and pop" store belongs to Hank and Andy's mom and pop.  Hank can't pay child support and Andy longs to take his wife, Gina (Marisa Tomei) back to Brazil to rekindle their dying romance.  The perfect crime, however, goes perfectly wrong and the rest of the film follows Hank and Andy on a downward spiral deeper into the pit of hell.  This is one of those films where you just can't find anyone to like.  Not even sad sap Gina is likeable as she's cheating on husband Andy with his brother Hank.  Poor father Charles (Albert Finney) isn't likeable either as he confesses of his poor parenting under the guise of "I wanted you to be better than me."  Finney, Hawke and Hoffman's performance's are masterfully done in this film.  Though I didn't like his character I couldn't help feel bad for Andy when he breaks down in the car and later completely falls apart at his drug dealer's apartment acting solely on desperation.  The movie travels back and forth on a four day timeline as the story is pieced together by flashing back and then forward through time.  If you see this flick you will not leave the theater in high spirits but you might remember that films don't always need to be a ridiculously high budgeted romp to catch your attention.  Before the Devil Knows You're Dead manages to take your breath away without CGI, death defying stunts, car chases and the like.
½ May 9, 2016
O constante e demasiado utilizado antes e durante chegaram a testar a minha fidelidade para com o ecrã mas no fim tudo culminou numa agradável sessão de cinema
April 24, 2016
is this not the greatest story ever?
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