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April 15, 2008

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DVD of the Week – Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)

by HELEN GEIB

I’m going out on a limb again this week and recommending a film I haven’t seen. I’m confident it’s a sturdy limb, though. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead comes highly recommended. First by glowing critical notices, and second by the caliber of talent behind and in front of the camera. It’s one of those small films that doesn’t play theaters for very long and is easy to miss, and that you look forward to catching up with on DVD after you miss it.

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, and Marisa Tomei and is directed by Sidney Lumet. The plot concerns a robbery plan gone awry. The twist is that the robbers are brothers who chose their father’s store as their target. One brother is a drug addict, the other a chronic loser. Family dysfunction, co-dependency, spendthrifts, addiction, sympathetic victims. Is it a coincidence that this movie is being released to DVD on tax day? Hm. It seems a peculiarly appropriate choice.

Other new releases this week: Alien vs. Predator: Requiem, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Juno, Lars and the Real Girl, War/Dance


2 Comments Post a comment
  1. miriam
    Apr 17 2008

    I had little expectation that the movie would live up to the cleverness of the story idea, but it actually surpasses it. The story unfolds like a classic greek tragedy, revealing the flaws and failures of each character. One brother finds unexpected strength and pulls away, the other we follow to the powerful terrible conclusion. Uniformly wonderful performances from the excellent cast.

  2. doc
    Apr 29 2008

    Albert Finney deserves special mention for his fine role, another senior British actor showing the youngsters how it’s done.

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