Niles-Maine District Library


Remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman: Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead


Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead is a good thriller…with a good ending. Not a great ending (I wish one of the main characters’ story was not left unresolved) but still satisfying.

Maybe famed NYC director Sidney Lumet left that one character’s end unresolved because that’s how life is…sometimes left hanging. From the way it starts to the way Lumet structures the story (told from different POVs), this one is original. Basically, it’s a robbery-gone-awry story which we’ve all seen over and over again in films. But Lumet adds an extra twist here that keeps you guessing until the end.

The film stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke as brothers who get involved in the caper-gone-wrong. Hoffman is the devious brother who concocts the fatal scheme and Hawke’s Andy just goes along for the ride, ending up losing the most. Not only one of Hoffman’s best roles in years (in my opinion), but this is a solid story in what has become a hackneyed and overdone genre (capers).

Even though this is not Lumet’s best movie…(can anyone say Twelve Angry Men???), compared to some of the lame thrillers out there, this one is one of the best of late.

The DVD and book are available for check out at the Niles Public Library!

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