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Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)

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When two brothers organize the robbery of their parent's jewelry store the job goes horribly wrong, triggering a series of events that sends them, their father and one brother's wife hurtling towards a shattering climax.

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writer:

Kelly Masterson
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4,617 ( 169)
17 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... Andy
Ethan Hawke ... Hank
Albert Finney ... Charles
Marisa Tomei ... Gina
Aleksa Palladino ... Chris
Michael Shannon ... Dex
Amy Ryan ... Martha
Sarah Livingston Sarah Livingston ... Danielle
Brían F. O'Byrne ... Bobby
Rosemary Harris ... Nanette
Blaine Horton Blaine Horton ... Justin
Arija Bareikis ... Katherine
Leonardo Cimino ... William
Lee Wilkof ... Jake
Damon Gupton ... Doctor
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Storyline

Needing extra cash, two brothers conspire to pull off the perfect, victimless crime. No guns, no violence, no problem. But when an accomplice ignores the rules and crosses the line, his actions trigger a series of events in which no one is left unscathed. Written by Carol Green

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

No one was supposed to get hurt. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of strong graphic sexuality, nudity, violence, drug use and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 October 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Antes que el diablo sepa que has muerto See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$73,837, 28 October 2007

Gross USA:

$7,084,227

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$25,038,417
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS (as dts)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cast features two Oscar winners: Philip Seymour Hoffman and Marisa Tomei and five Oscar nominated actors: Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, Michael Shannon, Rosemary Harris and Amy Ryan. See more »

Goofs

When Andy is shown being injected with heroin, the film shows Justin first withdrawing blood into the small syringe, to "confirm that he is in a vein", with the rubber tube tourniquet applied, above the level of the needle. However, when he subsequently injects the drug, he does not first remove the tourniquet, which would be normal practice when administering intravenous medication. See more »

Quotes

Martha Hanson: [discussing their daughter's little league baseball game] You didn't feed her junk, did you?
Henry 'Hank' Hanson: No.
Martha Hanson: I don't want her to develop bad eating habits. She looks puffy.
Henry 'Hank' Hanson: She doesn't look puffy. You look puffy.
Martha Hanson: Fuck you!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.14 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Bad Man Blood
Written by Michael Kisur & Darren Coverdale
Performed by Michael Kisur
Courtesy of Barbara L. Jordan/Heavy Hitters Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Lumet does Tolstoy
23 March 2008 | by Philby-3See all my reviews

Sydney Lumet hasn't had a box office hit in 20 years and yet at 83 has managed to churn out a tight, well-cast, suspenseful thriller set in his old stamping ground, New York City. (How he got insurance, let alone the budget after all those flops, is a mystery also). The story is a pretty grim one and the characters are not particularly likable but it held me on the edge of my seat till the final scene.

Two brothers with pressing financial problems conspire to rob a suburban jewelry store owned by their elderly parents. The only victim is going to be the insurance company. The robbery goes awry and two people die. Most of the film is concerned with the aftermath. The action is non-linear and seen from the main character's differing points of view, but it is not difficult to follow. What is not so easy to work out is the back story – how did the brothers get into such a mess? There are clues – the younger brother being the baby of the family is his fathers' favorite while the older brother seems to be carrying a lot of baggage about his relationship with his father, and vice versa, but that hardly accounts for him becoming a heroin-using murdering embezzler.

As the scheming older brother, a corpulent Philip Seymour Hoffman dominates the film, but he is well supported by Ethan Hawke as his bullied, inadequate younger brother. Albert Finney as their father seems to be in a constant state of rage but then the script calls for that. Marisa Tomei as the older brother's cheating wife at the age of 42 puts in the sexiest performance I've seen in many a year. The film literally starts with a bang, but we are out of that comfort zone pretty quickly.

I don't know the origins of this story by first time scriptwriter Kelly Masterton but I suspect that like Lumet's great 70's film "Dog Day Afternoon" it is based on fact – it's too silly to be untrue. Lumet is just about the last of those immensely versatile old-time craftsman studio directors who with immense speed were able to direct just about anything that was put in front of them. Some great films were produced that way as well as some classic turkeys. This isn't a classic of either sort – it's a well-crafted piece of downbeat entertainment. It will probably leave you feeling that you were lucky not be a member of a family as dysfunctional as this one, but still wondering as to how they got that way. We do know the parents were happy but we see so little of the mother and hear so little about her it is impossible pick up on her relationship with the boys. (There is also a daughter whose presence seems redundant). Well, like Tolstoy, we have to conclude that "each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way".


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