7.3/10
88,580
286 user 258 critic

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)

Trailer
2:00 | Trailer

On Disc

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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.

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writer:

Kelly Masterson
17 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... Andy
Ethan Hawke ... Hank
Albert Finney ... Charles
Marisa Tomei ... Gina
Aleksa Palladino ... Chris
Michael Shannon ... Dex
Amy Ryan ... Martha
Sarah Livingston Sarah Livingston ... Danielle
Brían F. O'Byrne ... Bobby
Rosemary Harris ... Nanette
Blaine Horton Blaine Horton ... Justin
Arija Bareikis ... Katherine
Leonardo Cimino ... William
Lee Wilkof ... Jake
Damon Gupton ... Doctor
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Storyline

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 Carol Green

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

No one was supposed to get hurt. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of strong graphic sexuality, nudity, violence, drug use and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 October 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Antes que el diablo sepa que has muerto See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$73,837, 26 October 2007, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$7,083,025, 9 March 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS (as dts)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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. See more »

Goofs

When Charles is following Andy, the same woman can be seen walking down the street, in opposite directions before and after. See more »

Quotes

Henry 'Hank' Hanson: [Bobby switches from folk music on the radio to heavy metal] What the fuck is this?
Bobby Lasorda: You can listen to that faggoty shit all the way home. Right now, I got to get into character.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in By Sidney Lumet (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Morning Star
(2001)
Written by Mark Rozzo
Performed by Maplewood
Courtesy of Aloha Buffet Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Lumet does Tolstoy
23 March 2008 | by Philby-3See all my reviews

Sydney Lumet hasn't had a box office hit in 20 years and yet at 83 has managed to churn out a tight, well-cast, suspenseful thriller set in his old stamping ground, New York City. (How he got insurance, let alone the budget after all those flops, is a mystery also). The story is a pretty grim one and the characters are not particularly likable but it held me on the edge of my seat till the final scene.

Two brothers with pressing financial problems conspire to rob a suburban jewelry store owned by their elderly parents. The only victim is going to be the insurance company. The robbery goes awry and two people die. Most of the film is concerned with the aftermath. The action is non-linear and seen from the main character's differing points of view, but it is not difficult to follow. What is not so easy to work out is the back story – how did the brothers get into such a mess? There are clues – the younger brother being the baby of the family is his fathers' favorite while the older brother seems to be carrying a lot of baggage about his relationship with his father, and vice versa, but that hardly accounts for him becoming a heroin-using murdering embezzler.

As the scheming older brother, a corpulent Philip Seymour Hoffman dominates the film, but he is well supported by Ethan Hawke as his bullied, inadequate younger brother. Albert Finney as their father seems to be in a constant state of rage but then the script calls for that. Marisa Tomei as the older brother's cheating wife at the age of 42 puts in the sexiest performance I've seen in many a year. The film literally starts with a bang, but we are out of that comfort zone pretty quickly.

I don't know the origins of this story by first time scriptwriter Kelly Masterton but I suspect that like Lumet's great 70's film "Dog Day Afternoon" it is based on fact – it's too silly to be untrue. Lumet is just about the last of those immensely versatile old-time craftsman studio directors who with immense speed were able to direct just about anything that was put in front of them. Some great films were produced that way as well as some classic turkeys. This isn't a classic of either sort – it's a well-crafted piece of downbeat entertainment. It will probably leave you feeling that you were lucky not be a member of a family as dysfunctional as this one, but still wondering as to how they got that way. We do know the parents were happy but we see so little of the mother and hear so little about her it is impossible pick up on her relationship with the boys. (There is also a daughter whose presence seems redundant). Well, like Tolstoy, we have to conclude that "each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way".


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