Thursday, November 14, 2013

Film Review: Before The Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)

Before The Devil Knows You're Dead (Review)
United States/2007
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"This is a very suspenseful, tense, and atmospheric crime thriller."

Pressed by their financial stress, brothers Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Hank Hanson (Ethan Hawke) plan on robbing a mom and pop jewelry store, but it all fails apart and causes a chain reaction of violent consequences...

Before The Devil Knows You're Dead has a story you're better off going into only knowing the basic premise. The film is not told in chronological order, rather it jumps from past to present and shows some scenes from the different viewpoints. The story follows Andy and Hank as they plan a robbery -- you quickly find out, it is the robbery of their parents jewelry store. When it falls apart, we see the consequences as they play out for each character. There are quiet a few twists and turns, and it ultimately leads to a devastating conclusion.

Before The Devil Knows You're Dead is well-told, despite the nonlinear storytelling; in fact, the storytelling contributes quite a bit to the film's great immersion. This is a very suspenseful, tense, and atmospheric crime thriller. I was at the edge of my seat for the bulk of the runtime, the rest of the time I was trying to catch my breath. The film follows strong themes of family and consequence -- in fact, the film strongly focuses on the dysfunctional relationships within the family, which makes for some incredibly tense and even emotional encounters.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is hypnotizing with his versatile and genuine performance. Ethan Hawke is equally impressive with his very emotional performance -- he really captures the reluctant, "baby" of the family character well. The soundtrack is perfect for the themes of the film, as well as perfect in building up suspense and emotion. Sydney Lumet's direction is flawless as every scene holds strong significance and holds the audience. Kelly Masterson's writing is also very creative and engaging.

Overall, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead is an incredible crime thriller. It kept me hooked from the sexual introduction to it's jaw-dropping ending. The performances are superb, the score is effective in more ways than one, and the direction is perfect. Don't miss this film.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, graphic sex and nudity.

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