Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead ★★★★

80

Sidney Lumet directed Before the Devil Knows You're Dead at the wise age of 82. It was his last film, but it feels like he was just getting started. With Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, Marisa Tomei, hell, even Michael Shannon and Amy Ryan - this ensemble cast dives deep into the grime of hopeless family ties and desperate situations going from bad to worse. Singling anyone out would take all day, as this film is all about the work and method of performance, of initially sculpting a story from the character first and foremost. You can feel the approach of Sidney Lumet as he transforms a fairly standard crime drama into a fractured nightmare of broken relationships and struggling souls. He lets the narrative breathe, and gives every actor the space to create, even if it isn't necessarily right there on the page. All in service to a monumentally bleak tone. Bad vibes from start to finish, and it's brilliant.