Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 343 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 30 out of 343

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User Reviews

  1. PhilN
    Feb 20, 2008
    4
    A mystifyingly overrated film. The biggest flaw - which I found completely crippling - was that it was impossible to root for any of the characters. Attempts to justify the two leads' actions fall short (especially when it later becomes clear an alternative was available), and as human beings they are simply despicable, exhibiting infantile selfishness and irresponsibility. Good film A mystifyingly overrated film. The biggest flaw - which I found completely crippling - was that it was impossible to root for any of the characters. Attempts to justify the two leads' actions fall short (especially when it later becomes clear an alternative was available), and as human beings they are simply despicable, exhibiting infantile selfishness and irresponsibility. Good film & TV (such as The Sopranos, There Will Be Blood) has shown us we can care deeply about monstrous people, or at least care about their fate, but this film fails to invoke any such feeling - I could have left half way through and would never have wondered about these two losers again. Furthermore, the plot is shaky and unconvincing and descends into hackneyed TV-movie gibberish toward the end. Albert Finney's character, who initially seems like the only glimmer of humanity and perhaps the movie's saving grace, unfortunately also turns into a cliche in his final - almost nonsensical - scenes. The non-linear, POV-switching storytelling is nothing more than a gimmick - nothing is revealed through these shifts, there's simply no reason for them to be there and they make the film needlessly cumbersome. The dreadful audio/visual effect that accompanies each shift is ugly and jarring, making them even more annoying. Positives: the film is nicely shot and the performances are good (but these too are overrated - the two great actors here, PSH and Finney, are coasting, nowhere near the height of their powers). The best thing is really the premise, which had potential but ultimately the film is a pointless waste of time and talent. Certainly not the worst film I've ever seen, but one I find impossible to recommend. Expand
  2. incognitoWhittaker
    Nov 12, 2007
    4
    This film fools a lot of people because there is pretty good acting in it. Besides the acting and Marisa Tomei's new rack, this is just a bad picture. I don't understand why it got good reviews. It's tiresome, pointless melodrama. Don't waste your money.
  3. ClayS.
    Nov 9, 2007
    5
    This movie was an absolute bore. Nobody really gave a convincing performance, and the show-you-the-future-before-showing-the-past mechanism is evidenced as a way too milked approach that lends nothing to storyline. Good? Far from it. Interesting? Maybe.
  4. MarkB
    Nov 11, 2007
    6
    Ending was poorly handled, film lost steam the story between Gina and Andy was not told well enough, Gina needed more, while Hank and his wife's part in the movie really needed only the first scene with the addition of the kid asking about the Lion King. Acting was first rate, writing and directing brought it down. Not using Marisa Tomei better - seeing her breasts was all they gave Ending was poorly handled, film lost steam the story between Gina and Andy was not told well enough, Gina needed more, while Hank and his wife's part in the movie really needed only the first scene with the addition of the kid asking about the Lion King. Acting was first rate, writing and directing brought it down. Not using Marisa Tomei better - seeing her breasts was all they gave us - is the biggest misgiving that and flubbing an easy ending. Expand
  5. JackS.
    Nov 13, 2007
    6
    This is not a bad move. It's deifnitely better than most. The performances are great. And the direction is decent. But comparison's to Lumet's other works in his heyday (Dog Day Afternoon & Serpico) are completely off. Those are classics. This is a good film of the moment and I can't imagine ever seeing it again because once you know the plot, the majority of the This is not a bad move. It's deifnitely better than most. The performances are great. And the direction is decent. But comparison's to Lumet's other works in his heyday (Dog Day Afternoon & Serpico) are completely off. Those are classics. This is a good film of the moment and I can't imagine ever seeing it again because once you know the plot, the majority of the tension is gone. And in the end, I didn't care who lived or died. This is pretty similar to how I felt about characters in "The Departed". But in the case of that film, I felt more empathy with the characters and am still shocked at twists/turns in that film since the direction there was truly artful and well done. Happy to see Sidney Lumet still in control, but I feel people are praising this film more than it deserves. Expand
  6. Ellen
    Nov 16, 2007
    5
    Can't recommend this one. The plot is dark, the characters are unlikeable, and their motivations are so vaguely drawn you find yourself inventing reasons for their savage behavior. I have to think that the love this picture is getting from critics has more to do with respect for Sidney Lumet than it does for the film itself. There are a lot of dark dramas out there. Go see another Can't recommend this one. The plot is dark, the characters are unlikeable, and their motivations are so vaguely drawn you find yourself inventing reasons for their savage behavior. I have to think that the love this picture is getting from critics has more to do with respect for Sidney Lumet than it does for the film itself. There are a lot of dark dramas out there. Go see another one. (Rated 5 for acting and direction only; but those elements can't save this movie.) Expand
  7. C.Moore
    Nov 27, 2007
    5
    This movie was well made I suppose, but hardly seems a story worth telling in its portrayal of moral free fall. Things are shit in the beginning and just get shittier and shittier for all involved until the movie ends. I felt contaminated as I left the theater.
  8. SamS.
    Dec 3, 2007
    6
    Relentlessly dark, the film revels in the pain of its characters without providing a commentary on the forces responsible for their suffering. The high ratings listed above are either the predictable applause given to Hoffman, or a more sinister symptom of the desires driving movie making and movie criticism today.
  9. NickG.
    Dec 23, 2007
    4
    Ethan hawk's acting is horrible. the jumbled plotting is done for effect but has no real person. A mighty bore.
  10. DanB.
    Dec 26, 2007
    6
    It is well-done and acted, but it feels much longer than its length, not one of the characters is even a little likeable, and the end is not believable. Any one of these things alone is fine... together, in this movie... eh. I felt like the film was trying to be "gritty" or "honest" or "real". But it wasn't, because every character was so ugly and it's not "real" that one group It is well-done and acted, but it feels much longer than its length, not one of the characters is even a little likeable, and the end is not believable. Any one of these things alone is fine... together, in this movie... eh. I felt like the film was trying to be "gritty" or "honest" or "real". But it wasn't, because every character was so ugly and it's not "real" that one group of people will be so dysfunctional. Expand
  11. JohnE
    Jan 19, 2008
    5
    Two hours of people who are constantly dour, morose, and depressed, all because of their own stupid decisions. You'll likely loath virtually every character in the movie and secretly cheer each death since it marks the end of that particular character's complaining and self-pity. Hitchcock is often quoted as saying that audiences needed a break during a movie, something to Two hours of people who are constantly dour, morose, and depressed, all because of their own stupid decisions. You'll likely loath virtually every character in the movie and secretly cheer each death since it marks the end of that particular character's complaining and self-pity. Hitchcock is often quoted as saying that audiences needed a break during a movie, something to change the pacing. This movie ignores that axiom and fails because of it, even with incredible acting from all involved. Expand
  12. StephenS.
    Mar 28, 2008
    6
    Often gripping, but not totally great, is this gloomy Sidney Lumet tale of a failed Westchester NY jewellery heist. When brothers Andy and Bobby screw up the daylight robbery of their own parents
  13. EdP.
    Apr 24, 2008
    5
    The actors were okay It was nice of Ms. Tomei to show us the results of her "operation". It became increasingly inplausible (the usually wonderful Albert Finney's silly pursuit of his sons) as the film careened to a conclusion.
  14. KHenderson
    May 10, 2008
    4
    Disappointingly terrible and implausible ending. The dark themes are fine but the writers seems to have lost their footing about how to resolve their story. Sure there's some nice acting here and there but the story fails. Miss it if you can!
  15. MorganB.
    May 27, 2008
    6
    Generally good movie, a lot of jumping around that had me confused at some points but other than that fairly made.
  16. JimM
    Nov 2, 2007
    4
    It takes only a few minutes for this movie to devolve into an absurd and alienating little moral play. Does it still count as a tragedy when you have no sympathy for anyone on screen? Did we really need to be trusted so little as to have to watch the same scenes played out repeatedly in case...what? We missed something? Not at this leisurely pace, we didn't. The characters It takes only a few minutes for this movie to devolve into an absurd and alienating little moral play. Does it still count as a tragedy when you have no sympathy for anyone on screen? Did we really need to be trusted so little as to have to watch the same scenes played out repeatedly in case...what? We missed something? Not at this leisurely pace, we didn't. The characters motivations felt false; the broken narrative was gimmicky in the worst way; Marisa Tomei was utterly wasted in a slight, pathetic role; and lord, that overbearing score made we want to run screaming from the theater. Overripe, dated, and silly, this must be the most overrated film of the year. Expand
  17. Apr 4, 2013
    5
    This film is about 2 brothers Andy and Hank (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke respectively) who plot to rob their parents jewellery store. The robbery is initially told from 2 perspectives for both brothers and later we get a third perspective of the robbery through their father Charles (played by Albert Finney). I thought the film started off well as the robbery unfoldsThis film is about 2 brothers Andy and Hank (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke respectively) who plot to rob their parents jewellery store. The robbery is initially told from 2 perspectives for both brothers and later we get a third perspective of the robbery through their father Charles (played by Albert Finney). I thought the film started off well as the robbery unfolds and we start to see the brother's motivations behind the robbery. The trouble is that once we get past the initial premise, the film begins to become repetitive and a bit tedious. The second half of the film was just filled with squabbling and melodrama and never really seemed to go anywhere by this point I was getting pretty bored with the film. I was ultimately disappointed with this film which is a shame as it started out well and ended up being only an average film at best. Expand
  18. Jul 1, 2016
    5
    Before the Devil Knows You're Dead is an undeniably well acted and well made film. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, and Marisa Tomei's boobs (probably the leader for screentime), all turn in great performances. The film is also a phenomenal look at a broken family led to the point of desperation to lift themselves up, but winds up tearing them apart even more. As a crimeBefore the Devil Knows You're Dead is an undeniably well acted and well made film. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, and Marisa Tomei's boobs (probably the leader for screentime), all turn in great performances. The film is also a phenomenal look at a broken family led to the point of desperation to lift themselves up, but winds up tearing them apart even more. As a crime thriller, it is solid and wholly entertaining. However, the film undoes itself with its non-linear structure. Annoying and useless in this film, the non-linear storytelling distracts more than it entertains. Even worse, the way in which it is told makes no sense with it jumping all over the place with little aim. The thrills the film could have produced are killed through the same means as the film's climactic parts come far too early to actually carry any weight. After this, we are stuck watching these people we do not like come to grips with what happened and reveal more dealing with it, but since we know how it turned out, it all feels pointless because then we can assume how they will all react to the results. There is tension, merely predictability. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead presents good acting, but shoots itself in the face repeatedly with its curious use of non-linear storytelling. Expand
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. His (Sidney Lumet) touch in Before the Devil is so sure, so perfectly weighted, that it’s hard to imagine him capable of making a bad movie. The thing is just enthralling.
  2. 88
    A dynamite film that ranks with the year's best.
  3. Pungently atmospheric, brilliantly textured and featuring superb performances from every performer in parts big and small.