Sunday, March 28, 2010

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)

NOTICE: Good news: Before the Devil Knows You're Dead is back on Instant Play.

Sidney Lumet, still barreling along, directs another misbegotten robbery movie--and this just a year after the satisfying Find Me Guilty, in which Vin Diesel reminded us he is one charming guy.

No charm, though, is evident in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. The brothers--Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke--who decide to rob their parents' jewelry store are so morally constipated they cannot express one clear thought. Instead, they simply doggedly advance, and screw everything up, and spend much time paying, the kind of thing Lumet is good at--I remain an admirer of Prince of the City, especially Treat Williams' breathless would-be hero.

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead has a few smeared lines, but between the cast (which also includes Albert Finney and Marisa Tomei) and the appalling mess those brothers make, their own dog day afternoon waning, Sidney Lumet once more makes a crime movie that's about a lot more than crime--and that knows there are all kinds of crimes, enough to go around for all of us.

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