Reverse Shot luffs Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead:
by Elbert Ventura
If our cultural arbiters are to be believed, the Seventies are back. “Serious,” “adult,” “provocative,” and other signifiers of high-minded Hollywood adorn multiplex posters (Michael Clayton, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), which perhaps says more about the desperation of the moviegoer in a barren 2007 than about the movies themselves. Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead will likely be lumped in with the group, but in this instance the New Hollywood nostalgia is legitimate. Directed by someone who actually defined the period, this is no homage by a “last golden age” devotee–it’s the genuine article. Click here to read the rest.
and in case you missed it,
by Brendon Bouzard
. . . Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead deserves hyperbole—it’s a late-career slam dunk from one of America’s greatest filmmakers that, like the best pulp, has an extraordinary moral weight and a relentless fatalism. Lumet’s critics have pegged his work as phallocentric, and Before the Devil will surely add fuel to their fire. It’s a movie about men in crisis—feckless, hollow, emotionally stunted men who turn to robbery and violence as outs for their middle-class despair. It’s one of his darkest, meanest visions of America, a world of suburban strip malls, joyless sex, and perfect crimes gone miserably awry. The story of Andy and Hank, brothers who conspire to knock off their own parents’ jewelry store, and then deal with the unintended consequences, the film advances tremendously on Lumet’s modest comeback Find Me Guilty and reasserts the director as an indelible American storyteller. Click here to read the rest.