Rolling Stone - 11/01/2007 3.5 stars out of 4 -- "Lumet fuses dark wit, suspense and tragedy into a time-shifting movie that vibrates with energy. All the actors are first-rate..."
Box Office - 11/01/2007
"Lumet energizes the material by continually shifting the audience's perspective on the characters....Hoffman gives a sharply etched performance."
Entertainment Weekly - 11/02/2007
"[Lumet] works with vigor and cunning and wide-awake elegance of a virtuoso half his age....Lumet's talent is, in every sense, timeless." -- Grade: A
Los Angeles Times - 11/02/2007
"A tense anti-caper...that's part thriller and part Greek tragedy....In it, Lumet breaks down the moral cause-and-effect process..."
Rolling Stone - 12/27/2007 Ranked #8 in Rolling Stone's "10 Best Movies Of 2007" -- "Lumet takes a first-rate script by Kelly Masterson and keeps it popping."
Uncut - 02/01/2008 4 stars out of 5 -- "[W]hat is impressive is its youth, energy, and its willingness to play games with storytelling..."
Empire - 02/01/2008 4 stars out of 5 -- "[Lumet is] doing some of his best work, as this bleak, almost Shakespearean tragedy conclusively proves."
Sight and Sound - 02/01/2008
"Hoffman masterfully essays the elder brother's manipulative string-pulling..."
From the unexpectedly graphic opening shot, director Sidney Lumet proves he hasn't lost any of his bite with age. BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD is a riveting suspense thriller that retains the director's classic approach to storytelling while updating it at the same time. Working from an intense, expertly woven script by playwright-turned-screenwriter Kelly Masterson, Lumet establishes his tragic tone immediately. The story concerns a New York family with a roiling undercurrent of dysfunction. The eldest son, Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman), is a frustrated, drug-abusing stockbroker who is unable to satisfy his gorgeous wife (Marisa Tomei). The youngest son, Hank (Ethan Hawke), is passive and struggles to make alimony payments. Their parents (Albert Finney and Rosemary Harris) live in Westchester and operate a small jewelry store. Their lives begin to unravel when Andy approaches Hank about pulling off a heist that will seemingly solve all of their monetary problems. Everything about this idea is risky, yet Andy convinces his timid younger brother that this is his only way out of his current situation. Naturally, their plan falls apart, resulting in a series of tragedies that they never could have predicted.
BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD belongs beside such Lumet classics as DOG DAY AFTERNOON, NETWORK, and SERPICO. The cinematography and editing and score are all excellent, but the performances are what launch the film into the stratosphere. Oscar-winner Hoffman (CAPOTE) and Finney have never been better, and the rest of the cast--Hawke, Tomei, Michael Shannon--rise to the occasion with unforgettable results.
Description by Image Entertainment:
Master filmmaker Sidney Lumet (The Verdict, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico) scores big with this absorbing suspense thriller. Oscar®-winner* Philip Seymour Hoffman is Andy, an overextended payroll executive who lures his younger brother, Hank (Ethan Hawke), into a larcenous scheme: the pair will rob a suburban mom-and-pop jewelry store that appears to be the quintessential easy target. The problem is, the store owners are Andy and Hank's real mom and pop, and when the seemingly perfect crime goes awry, the damage sends them hurtling toward a shattering climax.