When two brothers organize the robbery of their parent's jewelry store the job goes horribly wrong, triggering a series of events that sends them, their father and one brother's wife hurtling towards a shattering climax.
Needing extra cash, two brothers conspire to pull off the perfect, victimless crime. No guns, no violence, no problem. But when an accomplice ignores the rules and crosses the line, his actions trigger a series of events in which no one is left unscathed.Written by
As a last film for a truly legendary director, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead can only be described as a haunting, underrated masterpiece that any viewer will not soon forget.
The film consists of an all-star cast, including the likes of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Marisa Tomei and Albert Finney. Even Michael Shannon shares a brief, but memorable, bit of run time. The casting was excellent all around and there were no characters that felt out of place or unnecessary to the story. Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke specifically were the best either of them have ever been. The solid script and carefully written dialogue shared between the two main characters delivers some of the film's most riveting moments. And the "car scene" is one of Hoffman's most memorable on-screen moments. Those of you who have seen the film will know what I am referring to and those unaware are in for a treat.
The story, while simple and admittedly not too original, manages to effectively show the characters' descent into violence and madness while jumping to before and after the event in which the movie revolves around. While sometimes the movie holds our hand a little too much with the story telling, I appreciated the fact that this movie wanted us to never be confused or lost within the time-jumping narrative. I was always aware of where our characters were and what point of the story I was witnessing.
Now I have seen many comparisons between this film and the masterpiece known as Fargo, and while it shares the same theme of "simple crime gone horribly wrong" Before The Devil Knows You're Dead is not a darkly comedic venture. In fact, this movie is rarely anything but somber and hopeless. This is not a bad thing though as it seems that this was the director's intent. Delivering a powerful message through spurts of violence and intensity while never straying from the realm of reality within the movie. The violence and thrills are handled very well and are, at times, extremely intense.
Now with all that said, there is only one thing that stopped the movie from being perfect and that is the ending. Normally when following characters throughout a movie we like to see how their story ends. It is common in all basic story telling. The importance of this cannot be stressed enough, especially if we are following a certain character throughout the entire film. Viewers want to know what happened to the character they have been following for the past two hours, but this movie denies you of that. It leaves the fate of the character out of view, and while that works for some movies, I sadly don't think it was the right choice here. Seeing all the things that this character has gone through and leaving it unfinished before the movie is over feels incredibly abrupt and doesn't fit with the rest of the movie.
Despite this issue, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead is a masterpiece from a truly talented director. A tight written script brought together by superb acting and thrills, this is definitely a movie you should make time for.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this