Before The Devil Knows You're Dead

If any modern genre has had its day then surely the modern "heist-gone-wrong" movie is it. From blockbusters to indie kids we’ve seen it all, and Before The Devil Knows You're Dead joins the list ... and promptly jumps to the head of the class as one of the best.

There’s nothing particularly new or inventive in this film, but in covering old ground it shows its class throughout. The lead actors are superb, the writing and in particular Hoffman’s sparkling dialogue is a joy and the direction is tight and to the point. The initially unsettling structure of flashbacks intertwining chronologically with the present time story slowly settles and, in the end, adds to, what is essentially a heist movie dealing with the build up and bloody aftermath.

The fragmented sibling relationship between Hoffman and Hawke is superbly told, and as well as employing flashbacks the film uses shifting perspectives to keep the twists coming. As repulsive as Hoffman’s character is on first viewing, his emotions are brought wonderfully to life by the actor. It’s Hawke who surprises most by turning in a polished and restrained performance, on a par with anything he has done before.

You might not get to see it before the devil does, but be sure to check it out before the twists are given away.
Before The Devil Knows You're Dead at IMDb

Neil Davey is a freelance writer who specialises in things you can do sitting down, such as travelling, eating, drinking, watching films, interviewing famous people and playing video games. (And catching the occasional salmon.) Neil is the author of two Bluffer's Guides (Chocolate, and Food, both of which make lovely presents, ahem), and, along with Stuart O'Connor, is a co-founder of Screenjabber. Neil also writes / has written for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Square Mile, Delicious Magazine, Sainsbury's Magazine, Foodism, Escapism, Hello! and Square Meal.

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