Sunday, 16 September 2007

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Director: Sidney Lumet
Country: USA

In this modern film noir, Hank (Ethan Hawke) and Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) are two brothers involved in a heist gone wrong. As they try to cover up their tracks, they are forced to make decisions that slowly lead to their lives spiraling out of control.

Writer Kelly Masterson and director Sidney Lumet craft this story in a very well-paced fashion, splitting up sections of the film to follow each individual involved one at a time so as to reveal events slowly and deliberately. The story itself is very gritty, and profiles three lives in turmoil. The three characters in question - Hank, the divorced father of one in need of child support money, Andy, the drug-abusing corporate accountant, and Charles, their father - are all handled skillfully by accomplished actors (Ethan Hawke, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Albert Finney, respectively).

This is a very good film that explores the psychology of desperation realistically without condoning or condemning it. Sidney Lumet shows why he is still a great filmmaker after his debut effort (the classic 12 Angry Men) 50 years ago. Philip Seymour Hoffman Fans (of which I am one) will be glad to hear that his superb acting skills continue to amaze with this performance. Highly recommended.

No comments: