Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

This movie was directed by Sidney Lumet. That should make you think of 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon and other incredible pictures. Of course, it may make you think of The Wiz, and he has directed a few other clunkers in his time - but this film is definitely not a clunker. I think it belongs in the first group. How this movie fell through the cracks I will never know.

Maybe because it is a New York movie. It sometimes seems to me as if Hollywood doesn't promote anything not shot in LA. Anyway - this movie has a great, if common, plot - a heist gone bad. But the heist is not in itself the story. The story is about two brothers, Andy, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Hank, played by Ethan Hawke. Andy is married and seems to have it all, a good job earning 6 figures a year, a beautiful wife, Marisa Tomei, a great apartment, and a great car. But...he also has an expensive drug habit and trouble satisfying his wife. And debts --- debts no honest man can pay. Hank, on the other hand, is a loser. He has a nothing job, an ex-wife and a daughter, and he has debts. He owes the ex for back child support and he owes everyone he knows, including his brother, more than he can pay.

So they plan a heist. And it goes wrong - horribly wrong. This happens early in the movie, so the movie is more about the aftermath then the caper. Enter the brothers' family, led by their dad, Albert Finney, and their mom, Rosemary Harris. Did I mention it has a great cast.

Track this movie down. It is worth the trouble. One of the best I have seen this year.