Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 349 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 30 out of 349

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User Reviews

  1. Feb 11, 2011
    7
    Another installment in the POV thriller, this one, packing more emotion and melodramatic "fluff" than anything seen on "General Hospital." The plot is innately simple and intriguing, but is suddenly contrived with non-linearity. On the upside, however, each scene is shot delicately, drawing great amounts of real-life feeling. Seymour delivers his usual, banal acting job, bailed out only byAnother installment in the POV thriller, this one, packing more emotion and melodramatic "fluff" than anything seen on "General Hospital." The plot is innately simple and intriguing, but is suddenly contrived with non-linearity. On the upside, however, each scene is shot delicately, drawing great amounts of real-life feeling. Seymour delivers his usual, banal acting job, bailed out only by solid writing. The real firmness and direction is lead by Finney, whose genuinately is more than able and deserving. As for Tomei...well, what you see is what you get. Don't let me stray you from thinking any differently, the film is very well done: methodical, concise, and enlivening. The subtle undertones and suggestions are superb, the anticipation is live, the direction is vague, and the irony is delicious. The biggest quandary, though, Hollywood's obsession to aggrandize...I guess simpler isn't always better...? Expand
  2. Nov 8, 2012
    9
    A superbly seductive and savagely satisfying crime melodrama that sizzles with brilliant performances fueled by an ingenious script.
  3. StevenK.
    Nov 4, 2007
    7
    While lurching from horror to horror that this family wreaks upon itself the affect curiously only decreases the pace and makes the movie seem longer.No great movie this. Great acting though from Hoffman makes it worth the ride.I don't understand those high ratings though.No player elicits any sympathy except the mother and I suspect if we knew her better we would hate her too. If While lurching from horror to horror that this family wreaks upon itself the affect curiously only decreases the pace and makes the movie seem longer.No great movie this. Great acting though from Hoffman makes it worth the ride.I don't understand those high ratings though.No player elicits any sympathy except the mother and I suspect if we knew her better we would hate her too. If the intent is to instill sheer disgust at the human condition it succeeds in a very unrealistic way because the characters are one dimensionally venal..Not since "Pan's Labyrinth" has unabashed critical acclaim been so misplaced. Expand
  4. ErichH.
    Nov 6, 2007
    9
    Lumet is back as slick as ever with a sexy, smart, crime-drama/family-study. Bravura turns by Ethan Hawke and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Top notch.
  5. NatT.
    Nov 8, 2007
    9
    I have a art theatre and this is one of those films you know your audience will enjoy. I can't wait to open it.
  6. AndyS.
    Nov 10, 2007
    10
    A outstanding piece of cinema with a first rate performance by phillip seymour hoffman and a great story told with a magicians touch.
  7. chardamus
    Nov 12, 2007
    8
    This is a meditation on Mens lives at its worst and tightest. Everyman knows this horror story. I was so glad when it was over and it wasn't my life. You can read this kind of story dailey in the newspapers, men leading secret, compulsive, unfeeling lives that lead them to do and act in ways they never thought they were capable of. This is a modern tragedy and depicts the oppression This is a meditation on Mens lives at its worst and tightest. Everyman knows this horror story. I was so glad when it was over and it wasn't my life. You can read this kind of story dailey in the newspapers, men leading secret, compulsive, unfeeling lives that lead them to do and act in ways they never thought they were capable of. This is a modern tragedy and depicts the oppression of men very well. See it if you dare. Baby. Expand
  8. AmberF.
    Nov 15, 2007
    10
    This film is incredible. The writing, the acting, the timing, the directing . . . everything, impeccable. Nothing I write here will even do it justice. But I will try, if everyone makes every effort to go and see this film. Lumet reveals the crucial moment in the first ten minutes, before you've had a chance to empathize with the characters or understand their motivations. That This film is incredible. The writing, the acting, the timing, the directing . . . everything, impeccable. Nothing I write here will even do it justice. But I will try, if everyone makes every effort to go and see this film. Lumet reveals the crucial moment in the first ten minutes, before you've had a chance to empathize with the characters or understand their motivations. That quickly changes, as the film cuts to the circumstances leading up to and after the event, a botched jewelery store robbery. And this is not your average robbery, which is part of what makes this film so captivating. Two down-and-out brothers, Andy and Hank, believe robbing their parent's jewelery store provides a quick fix to their looming problems, including Hank's (Ethan Hawke) child support payments and disdainful treatment from his ex-wife and daughter and Andy's (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) drug addictions, painful marriage and IRS trouble at work. When everything that can go wrong with the robbery does, viewers are left with the aftermath, which builds suspense, empathy and regret to a level no crime drama has ever reached. Expand
  9. WilliamS.
    Nov 16, 2007
    10
    See it for the tatas. Great characters, great acting, great directing, but all overshadowed by Marisa Tomei's babilicious breastitude. If you only see one set of tatas this Christmas, see this movie.
  10. RichardW.
    Nov 17, 2007
    10
    Brilliantly envisioned and executed by a master craftsman with actors at the height of their game.
  11. DanaM.
    Nov 19, 2007
    7
    I had a hard time rating this movie. It was a disturbing movie on many fronts. Movie starts with graphic sex scene and ends with a murder. The acting was excellent and the action suspenseful, but the time-shifting between the days was distracting at best. This movie is definitely not for the squeamish or those embarrassed by nudity. The pathetic nature of the characters was unredeeming I had a hard time rating this movie. It was a disturbing movie on many fronts. Movie starts with graphic sex scene and ends with a murder. The acting was excellent and the action suspenseful, but the time-shifting between the days was distracting at best. This movie is definitely not for the squeamish or those embarrassed by nudity. The pathetic nature of the characters was unredeeming and I found it hard to empathize with the sons. Definitely not a first date movie. Expand
  12. Carl
    Nov 19, 2007
    8
    Great performances, masterful storytelling. This movie provoked more post-show dinner discussion and analysis than any other this year.
  13. Tyler
    Nov 23, 2007
    10
    Baby boomer parents, 3 kids, and a tragedy. This is the most nightmarish scenario I could have ever dreamed up happening to a family like mine -- all I can say is I'm lucky to have escaped from, and rediscovered my family. The performances in this movie, especially an Oscar worthy one by PSH, are worth seeing by themselves. Go see this one and then clean your palate with this Baby boomer parents, 3 kids, and a tragedy. This is the most nightmarish scenario I could have ever dreamed up happening to a family like mine -- all I can say is I'm lucky to have escaped from, and rediscovered my family. The performances in this movie, especially an Oscar worthy one by PSH, are worth seeing by themselves. Go see this one and then clean your palate with this year's more lighthearted baby boomer + 3 kids + death in the family movie: The Darjeeling Limited. Thank you. Expand
  14. AlexP.
    Nov 24, 2007
    9
    Best Ensemble Acting I Have Ever Seen. Hoffman's work in particular is the stuff of legend.
  15. BillyS.
    Nov 24, 2007
    8
    Regardless of its box office receipts, there's one thing you can always count on in a Sidney Lumet film, actors giving award worthy performances. In Before The Devil Knows You're Dead, Lumet can add Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney and Marisa Tomei to his gallery of actors who do their best work under his midas touch. (18 acting Oscar nominations)The man is the Regardless of its box office receipts, there's one thing you can always count on in a Sidney Lumet film, actors giving award worthy performances. In Before The Devil Knows You're Dead, Lumet can add Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney and Marisa Tomei to his gallery of actors who do their best work under his midas touch. (18 acting Oscar nominations)The man is the Ever-ready bunny of directors, he just keeps going and going and if it says "A Film by Sidney Lumet", I'll keep going and going and... Expand
  16. BeakB
    Nov 28, 2007
    10
    Very dark movie. It is good though.
  17. MatthewO.
    Dec 1, 2007
    10
    Great flick! I can't believe Lumet is 83 years old. You'll definitely enjoy this very well constructed thriller. Great performances from everyone.
  18. FrankF.
    Dec 1, 2007
    10
    Painful but fascinating cinema. Could not take eyes off screen. Fantastic acting by all. Not for the squeamish. Tradecraft in this film is a 10.
  19. RCR
    Dec 4, 2007
    10
    This is an incredibly engrossing film where the stakes are raised with each successive scene. Hoffman is a virtuoso of pain and rage.
  20. EdM.
    Dec 7, 2007
    8
    Fine acting by all, and an inventive script, elevates this film beyond the normal caper melodrama. I'm not sure I get the camera work, though -- dark, somewhat underexposed interiors and closeups, while the outdoor scenes are overexposed and harsh. Different. Worth seeing.
  21. ChadS.
    Dec 15, 2007
    10
    Is there such a thing as an uplifting downer? That can be the only apt way to describe "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead", which to me, plays like "Death of a Salesman" as film noir. A palpable excitement will build inside your cerebral cortex as you watch Andy(Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and Hank(Ethan Hawke) descend into hell. The entire story takes place almost entirely in broad Is there such a thing as an uplifting downer? That can be the only apt way to describe "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead", which to me, plays like "Death of a Salesman" as film noir. A palpable excitement will build inside your cerebral cortex as you watch Andy(Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and Hank(Ethan Hawke) descend into hell. The entire story takes place almost entirely in broad daylight. The dark places are inside their hearts. It's like watching two cockroaches with no place to hide. "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" scorches the screen with old familial resentments and betrayals. There's no redemption for Andy, the ringleader, only comeuppance. The look on Charles' face(Albert Finney's face) is unfatherly, understandable, and unbelievably hateful. For once, the non-linear structure of the screenplay doesn't feel arbitrary. The stops and reverses help amplify and clarify the next great, gut-wrenching pitstop, en route to a wonderfully malevolent realization of catharsis for the vigilante. "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" is a great white-knuckle ride. It will drain you. It's a near-masterpiece. Expand
  22. Nasty
    Jan 1, 2008
    9
    Great movie. Lumet shows at his age that he can direct drastic and emotionally pulverizing film with excellent support from actors Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke.
  23. GaborA.
    Jan 31, 2008
    8
    As you zoom in on things their flaws become more apparent. Before The Devil Knows is the opposite. If you take the entire film its imperfections are clear and feels like too much. But each of this films parts are near perfect. Every scene is tight, tense, and mesmerizing.
  24. AaronM
    Feb 4, 2008
    9
    Very entertaining movie overall. Simple story, but masterfully done. The non-linear, multiple point of view storytelling works wonderfully and it seems Phillip Seymour Hoffman just continues to give great acting performances.
  25. TylerC.
    Feb 6, 2008
    7
    Very well made. Great acting. The most depressing film I've ever seen.
  26. ErnieP.l
    Feb 8, 2008
    10
    Easily Lumet's best film since "The Verdict", but also one of the best films he's ever made.
  27. [Anonymous}
    Feb 24, 2008
    10
    Bizarre premise with superb cast, outrageously funny, with oh so many levels of recognizable relationships,
  28. YvonneY.
    Feb 27, 2008
    7
    I thought it was a very interesting film and VERY well acted. I couldn't imagine what the ending would be, it certainly kept me enthralled.
  29. AdamC.
    Mar 3, 2008
    8
    Well shot and acted, but I'll be damned if it wasn't the most depressing film I saw in all of 2007.
  30. AlexSassoonC.
    Mar 15, 2008
    9
    A film anchored by a rock-solid central performance from Philip Seymour Hoffman, and not quite undone by Ethan Hawke's acting-by-numbers hackery.
  31. KaseyS.
    Mar 16, 2008
    10
    Grossly overlooked at the Oscars. In a year without "There Will Be Blood" and "No Country for Old Men," this movie would not have been overlooked. Chilling, entertaining, almost Shakespearean melodrama.
  32. JonathanS.
    Mar 17, 2008
    10
    Brilliant; the acting was the best I've seen in some while, the directing marks an incredible mastery by the aging Lumet, and the minor-key score works perfectly in cohesion with the rest of the film. The only thing to note was that the ending-- while the only sensible way to go-- was too predictable, which took away much of the impact; which, in turn, also stole the scenes of its Brilliant; the acting was the best I've seen in some while, the directing marks an incredible mastery by the aging Lumet, and the minor-key score works perfectly in cohesion with the rest of the film. The only thing to note was that the ending-- while the only sensible way to go-- was too predictable, which took away much of the impact; which, in turn, also stole the scenes of its emotional impact due to its predictability, while it still retained its mesmerizing imagery. Though, undoubtedly, for those who somehow did not foresee the conclusion, it was a very emotional ending, but I would like to reccommend to those who thought that this was actually a depressing movie to watch Requiem for a Dream, Darren Aronofsky's masterpiece-- it will sap the will to live out of you, while simultanesouly also being one of the most beautiful films you have ever seen (and while the score on Metacritic is a bit biased, other compilation sites prove the film is a very well-reviewed film, for any who might have doubts.) But as for Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, the verdict remains: it's brilliant, and definitely one of the best under-looked films of 2007. Expand
  33. CJ
    Mar 23, 2008
    9
    A distressing, tense, and and dark character film that is like having a 2 hour long anxiety attack. This twisting and turning story really ratchets up the stress leading to its conclusion. Interestingly, none of the characters are likeable (though well acted). Definatley worth seeing.
  34. PaulC.
    Mar 24, 2008
    10
    ethan hawk and philip Seymour Hoffman take you on rocky journey and you to watch every beautifully tragic moment. Sri k it all in. Even the horrific end. Humor of humanity is smattered throughout.
  35. JayH.
    Apr 4, 2008
    8
    Superb thriller, thanks in large part to director Sideny Lumet. The acting is excellent, especially Philip Seymour Hoffman. Tense and exciting throughout, excellent pace, writng and editing. Top notch in all ways. Excellent.
  36. N@d@Surf
    Apr 16, 2008
    10
    Great movie! Hoffman is GOD!
  37. JayM.
    Apr 20, 2008
    8
    In recent years the importance of family has been glorified beyond measure. Before the Devil turns this extollment upside down and inside out in this searing white hot noir about a robbery gone wrong. Sidney Lumet's direction is a marvel to behold-there are several long beautiful takes-and his legendary rapport with actors is ever present throughout. This is a nasty, sometimes In recent years the importance of family has been glorified beyond measure. Before the Devil turns this extollment upside down and inside out in this searing white hot noir about a robbery gone wrong. Sidney Lumet's direction is a marvel to behold-there are several long beautiful takes-and his legendary rapport with actors is ever present throughout. This is a nasty, sometimes shocking although thoroughly compelling work that ranks among the 10 or 12 best films of 2007. Features several nude scenes of Marisa Tomei that should more than satisfy the George Constanza's among us. Expand
  38. NicholasS.
    Apr 22, 2008
    10
    Every scene is essential and economical. All the fat has been trimmed and what is left is a story so simple you want to scream at Hoffman and Hawke's characters for not anticipating the outcome. And Marisa Tomei!!! I'm speechless.
  39. BillC
    Apr 24, 2008
    8
    Pretty solid all the way around. As for complaints about the story line jumping back and forth, you get used to it.It's a style , that's all.(Think Pulp Fiction) It's still a good entertaining story with solid acting and writing.Easly better than 95% of the films in theaters today.
  40. TimothyJN.
    Apr 28, 2008
    10
    This is a great movie: it should become a classic. On DVD commentary, director Sidney Lumet continually refers to film as a 'melodrama." Malybe he does this to protect himself, but he should refer to it as a "tragedy." It feels like a Greek tragedy to me, though I haven't quite figured out why yet. Only faults I can find: film--was "filmed" digitally---seems overposed This is a great movie: it should become a classic. On DVD commentary, director Sidney Lumet continually refers to film as a 'melodrama." Malybe he does this to protect himself, but he should refer to it as a "tragedy." It feels like a Greek tragedy to me, though I haven't quite figured out why yet. Only faults I can find: film--was "filmed" digitally---seems overposed (intentionally) in many places and ending probably unslatisfactory for most viewers. Expand
  41. RussH.
    Apr 29, 2008
    9
    What a gem. A dark gem, but a gem.
  42. jw
    May 10, 2008
    8
    (8.5) Admiration without enjoyment is a good way to put it. Like a late Picasso, one can appreciate its mastery without actually finding it beautiful. Hoffman's performance is on par with what he did in Magnolia and Love Liza. He sort of teeters there on a wire. Finney is far, and yet not so far from the bitter, self-consumed husband he was at times in Two for the Road. Hawke gives (8.5) Admiration without enjoyment is a good way to put it. Like a late Picasso, one can appreciate its mastery without actually finding it beautiful. Hoffman's performance is on par with what he did in Magnolia and Love Liza. He sort of teeters there on a wire. Finney is far, and yet not so far from the bitter, self-consumed husband he was at times in Two for the Road. Hawke gives the movie all its top-heavy forward momentum. One wonders what brick wall he will smack into next. And I could never, for the life of me, describe what Tomei does with her character, I just know that it was brilliant. Expand
  43. GonzoG.
    May 10, 2008
    9
    I agree with Timothy JN (above individual critic) that this movie reminds one of a greek tragedy. And it is a perfect, tragic story. The characters are doomed from the begining to the end. The main tragic figure is Andy, and his tragic flaw is drug addiction. The plot spins helplessly /,along with the tragic screams of Andy in his driving home brow beaten by a father, who is pre-destined I agree with Timothy JN (above individual critic) that this movie reminds one of a greek tragedy. And it is a perfect, tragic story. The characters are doomed from the begining to the end. The main tragic figure is Andy, and his tragic flaw is drug addiction. The plot spins helplessly /,along with the tragic screams of Andy in his driving home brow beaten by a father, who is pre-destined to undo the hero. Oh Sophocles where are you when we need you! Expand
  44. KIrkN.
    May 11, 2008
    9
    Fascinating movie from beginning to end. A terrific character study of normal people under desperate times, being influenced by a true monster who wasn't normal to begin with.
  45. AndrewR.
    May 16, 2008
    10
    With a spare and wrenching style, Lumet invests a melodramatic premise with the annihilating power of Greek tragedy.
  46. kyled
    May 23, 2008
    10
    This movies was soo amazing. I cannot believe that it was completely ignored by the Academy. I found this movie better than No Country For Old Men.
  47. CoxisA.
    May 25, 2008
    8
    An absolute Greek Tragedy with brilliant peformances.
  48. DougM.
    Jun 4, 2008
    10
    This was a great movie. Great drama. If you want to see flashing colors or explosions, this movie isn't for you. It is a story that unfolds in a unique way. Great acting. Great story line. Great directing.
  49. BradleyG.
    Jun 8, 2008
    10
    I can't believe that more people have not seen this movie. It is probably the most intense movie that I have ever seen. Some of the best acting coupled with some of the best directing and a killer story has made a movie one should not miss for anything, but I doubt that most have even heard of it.
  50. PaulD.
    Jun 13, 2008
    9
    Good adult crime drama with great performances by all the leads.
  51. JosephL.
    Jun 21, 2008
    9
    Excellent movie. Very depressing, but really well put together.
  52. trfegyhhg
    Jul 24, 2008
    10
    I love this movie, one of my favorites. Hoffman and Hawke do a good job.
  53. Liz
    Oct 18, 2008
    10
    Excellent film!
  54. BettJ.
    Oct 26, 2007
    10
    Great movie. Hoffman is amazing.
  55. BrockN.
    Oct 26, 2007
    9
    Even the cameos (notably Michael Shannon) were outstanding.
  56. JohnP
    Nov 2, 2007
    9
    Amazing movie all around - performances, directing, music. Best work Hawke has ever done. Best nude scenes Tomei has ever done, too ! Hoffman is, of course, riveting. The last half hour will mess you up.
  57. DWilly
    Nov 3, 2007
    7
    The actors are strong enough, and the story gives them enough room to flex, to sustain this film beyond the limitations of its primitive filmmaking. I know that's an odd comment to make about a Sidney Lumet film, but, at 83 and working with a very limited budget, maybe he had only enough strength to get those great performances. There is one exception: as Ethan Hawk's ex-wife, The actors are strong enough, and the story gives them enough room to flex, to sustain this film beyond the limitations of its primitive filmmaking. I know that's an odd comment to make about a Sidney Lumet film, but, at 83 and working with a very limited budget, maybe he had only enough strength to get those great performances. There is one exception: as Ethan Hawk's ex-wife, the overpraised Amy Wright from "Gone Baby Gone" turns in the same shallow crap here, too. Expand
  58. BillD.
    Nov 3, 2007
    8
    If I were one of those sell-out "The perfect date movie" critics, this one would be "The anti-feel good movie of the year." The story telling, the structure, the acting -- everything is perfect. Except the story is so depressing.
  59. HermanL.
    Oct 24, 2009
    8
    Excellent film with wonderful acting. Lumet is a genius. By the way, Mike H. describes the opening scene as anal sex. Was he on the set with a flashlight? Has he heard of rear entry sex or doing it doggy-style? An amazing reason to give the film a 0!
  60. JimmyB.
    Mar 29, 2010
    8
    Mike H. and almost everyone else's comments on this film are completely inane. Frankly, I'm surprised most of you even know about this website. Mike H- your incorrect labeling of the film's first scene as an "anal sex scene" really discredits your comment and it ISN"T an anal sex scene, and no way does the film indicate it being one. In fact, the tone of the scene Mike H. and almost everyone else's comments on this film are completely inane. Frankly, I'm surprised most of you even know about this website. Mike H- your incorrect labeling of the film's first scene as an "anal sex scene" really discredits your comment and it ISN"T an anal sex scene, and no way does the film indicate it being one. In fact, the tone of the scene essentially confirms that it isn't. Anyway, I had to rant about that as I'm tired of reading asinine user comments on Youtube, Metacritic, whatever. Expand
  61. Mar 26, 2011
    10
    What a superb film! Incredibly inpactful and thrilling. Great performances all around, with a beautiful score and amazing writing to go hand in hand with the Sidney Lumet touch. How this film was snubbed for not even a single Oscar nomination, I will never understand. Michael Shannon and Albert Finney bring such great energy and power; Hoffman and Hawke really express the confusion in theWhat a superb film! Incredibly inpactful and thrilling. Great performances all around, with a beautiful score and amazing writing to go hand in hand with the Sidney Lumet touch. How this film was snubbed for not even a single Oscar nomination, I will never understand. Michael Shannon and Albert Finney bring such great energy and power; Hoffman and Hawke really express the confusion in the **** that takes place. The melodramatic performances rarely seem over done because the thrill is amped up to 14. This film physically punched me in the face: no **** Expand
  62. Oct 20, 2012
    9
    The film's opening scene is so well made it quite possibly will never leave my mind. This scene sets the tone for the entire film. Great performances, Great screenplay, but the style may be a bit distracting in places. At a time when thrillers are more about action before the devil knows you're dead comes across as freshly old school.
  63. Jul 22, 2013
    9
    Awesome frickin' movie. Nobody captures the debilitating affects of stress and concern like Philip Seymour Hoffman. He and Ethan Hawke are both great here. This one is a ride. Loved it.
  64. Aug 28, 2014
    8
    It is no surprise that Sidney Lumet is the genius behind Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. A taunting thriller with a dynamite ensemble. Phillip Seymour Hoffman at his very best.
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.