“Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead” will take you for a ride

Directed by Sydney Lumet. If you think you have problems or that your family is messed up or that your life hasn’t turned out the way you hoped it would, watch Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead and you’ll be grateful for everything you’ve got. It’s difficult to talk about the plot without giving away the story, but it involves two brothers who plan a heist that goes all wrong. And that’s just the beginning of their troubles. It’s the kind of story that only exists in movies, but the people feel so real, their reactions to the extreme circumstances so genuine, that it works. It’s completely engaging. The entire cast — Philip Seymour Hoffman, Albert Finney and even Ethan Hawke — couldn’t have given better performances. When you see acting on this level, you quickly realise how mediocre most actors are and what a challenging profession it really is. (Marisa Tomei has a major role, but they don’t give her much to do except take off her shirt.) It’s not a happy movie (though I had to laugh at the absurdity of it all from time to time), but it’s so over the top and compelling, it’s difficult to look away.

Note: The movie is much better than the sensationalized take in trailer.