ARCHIVE REVIEW: Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
Directed by: Sidney Lumet
Written by: Kelly Masterson (screenplay)
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Marisa Tomei, and Albert Finney

We didn’t know until recently that Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead would be the last film from the masterful director Sidney Lumet.  Few saw it when it was released back in 2007, which is a fair summation of Lumet’s later career.  Though the all-important edge remained in his work, especially this ferocious indictment of American family dynamics, the “classic status” of films like 12 Angry Men and Dog Day Afternoon was not achieved.

By no means does this make Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead lose merit, but it is not a classic.  All directors don’t get to end on masterpieces (Stanley Kubrick didn’t), but Lumet had the distinction of making them.

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