The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD (2007) ** ½

Sidney (Network) Lumet directed this laborious but well acted heist flick about a pair of brothers (Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke) who plan the “victimless” robbery of their parent’s jewelry store.  Since this is a movie, we know that the robbery will not go according to plan.  In fact, the boys’ mother (Rosemarie Harris) ends up on a slab, which causes their father (Albert Finney) to go all kinds of crazy with grief.  Both of the brothers’ sizable debts continue to escalate until they’re forced to commit ANOTHER robbery later in the movie.  I guess it goes without saying that that robbery doesn’t go off without a hitch either.

 

The opening scenes are good enough to hook you.  The botched robbery and its inevitable fallout are compelling but Lumet loses the audience once he starts going hog wild with all the flashbacks and flashforwards.  Seriously, this movie doubles back on itself more than all of those goddamned Saw movies combined. 

 

The performances were all great though.  Hoffman gave another textured portrayal of a greasy loser and Hawke was equally excellent as his down-and-out brother.  Kudos must be given to Finney for some truly fine grieving acting after his wife dies.  Michael (Bug) Shannon also deserved some kind of award for his weirdo turn as a thug who tries to shake Hawke down for some cash.

 

This movie also features a first:  A Phillip Seymour Hoffman sex scene.  You get to see his flabby ass pound the living Hell out of Marisa Tomei doggystyle for a good two minutes.  On the plus side though, you do get to see Tomei’s tits, so you have to take the good with the bad I guess.  Then again, she does get naked A LOT in this movie so we could’ve done without all the unnecessary shots of Hoffman’s ass pounding away at her. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead would’ve been a Three Star movie but I gotta take a half-star off for the gratuitous shots of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s tubby butt.

Tags: b, drama
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