Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

No one was supposed to get hurt
No one was supposed to get hurt


D: Sidney Lumet

Capitol/Unity/Linsefilm/Funky Buddha (Michael Cerenzie, Brian Linse, Paul Parmar & William S. Gilmore)

USA 🇺🇸 2007

117 mins


W: Kelly Masterson

DP: Ron Fortunato

Ed: Tom Swarthout

Mus: Carter Burrell

Philip Seymour Hoffman (Andy Hanson), Ethan Hawke (Hank Hanson), Marisa Tomei (Gina Hanson), Albert Finney (Charles Hanson), Rosemary Harris (Nanette Hanson), Michael Shannon (Dex), Amy Ryan (Martha)

Sidney Lumet's final film before his death is directed with the vim and vigour associated with the films he made much earlier in his career, despite the veteran director being in his eighties when the film was shot.

Taking its title from a traditional Irish proverb, Kelly Masterson's debut screenplay focuses on two brothers, both in financial difficulty, who plot to rob their parents' jewellery store in what they believe will be a victimless crime. 

The film uses a non-linear narrative to crank up the tension, and the ensemble of performances are all excellent, especially Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke as the criminal siblings. The only disappointment is the final scene, which doesn't quite tie up all the loose ends.


Ethan Hawke & Philip Seymour Hoffman in Before The Devil Knows You're Dead
Ethan Hawke & Philip Seymour Hoffman in Before The Devil Knows You're Dead
Did You Know:
In the original script, Andrew and Hank Hanson were not brothers. Sidney Lumet made this change to increase the drama of the movie. He also removed the character of Andrew & Gina's daughter.