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David O. Russell
Robert De Niro
Kathryn Vale (Lena Olin) is a reclusive ex-movie star with a dark secret and a daughter hoping to follow in her mother's movie-star footsteps. When Kathryn attempts to make a career comeback, she is threatened by an anonymous blackmailer. The resulting events force Kathryn to confront the truth about herself and those around her. Written by
Lacks the thrill of the story and the sense of purpose of artistic merit
"The Devil You Know" tells the tale of a daughter of a reclusive movie star trying to break into the business and of her mother trying to reestablish her celebrity reputation but then she is threatened by an anonymous blackmailer. Most people would assume that that would just be the beginning of the plot that the blackmail would lead to something eventful, or thrilling or suspenseful, or just something.
Instead that opening sentence took more than one hour of the total hour and twenty-two minutes runtime. Actually not even the complete sentence unless you take "blackmail" to literally mean receiving a black card in the mail. It took them the entire movie to establish that Zoe (Rosamund Pike) is struggling to get a job in the movie industry and is jealous of her mother's success. Her mother, Kathryn (Lena Olin) isn't liked by anybody.
There were some beautiful shots, for instance the opening sequence of Zoe trying to act in front of gorgeous water fountain. But then there were out-of-focus shots of people's legs, and it became clear they really didn't have any concrete, coherent ideas for this film. Just abstract thoughts of: Blackmail! Murder! Sexuality! Infidelity! Deceit! Without actually saying or doing anything.
There's a good reason why this movie didn't get a release after around 6 years of sitting on the shelf there's too little to this story. There isn't even a story. But then Jennifer Lawrence became famous and somebody dug out this little known film with a little known somebody in a little role. If you watch for almost an hour, you might see a young Jennifer Lawrence. I say "might" see because the role lasts one second and you have to be awake with your eyes open.
There's an artistic sense to "The Devil You Know" even though there's nothing else to it. So I might recommend it to people who want a thriller without any of the action or suspense or intrigue that normally comes with it. I definitely don't recommend it to fans of Jennifer Lawrence (don't let the IMDb page fool you, she's not the star) or anybody looking for an interesting movie.
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