Monday, April 21, 2008

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead - DVD Review

BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD (***1/2) - Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, Marisa Tomei, Rosemary Harris, Amy Ryan, Michael Shannon and Brian F. O'Byrne.
Written by Kelly Masterson.
Directed by Sidney Lumet.

If Hoffman had not won the Academy Award for Capote, and had he not been nominated for Charlie Wilson's War, he surely would have been nominated for this. He is interesting in everything he does, and his slow burn here is really cool to watch.

He and Ethan Hawke play brothers Andy and Hank. They look nothing alike, but I could overlook that. Both are in financial dire straits, and elder brother Andy (Hoffman) comes up with a plan. They'll rob their parents' jewelry store. They can get six figures out of it, Mom and Dad will get compensated by insurance; it's a win-win. But the robbery goes awry, and the walls start closing in on the brothers, who grow more and more desperate to cover their tracks.

This is a movie that deserves to get discovered on DVD, as it tanked at the box-office. Finney is great as the father, a good-hearted man who gets more volcanic as it eats at him who would rob his store. In the end, when push comes to shove, basically good people can do tragic things when they feel trapped.

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