Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Sidney Lumet (2007)

15 Certificate


Our Score
Veteran director Sidney Lumet is once again on familiar territory with this New York-set thriller that takes its title from an old Irish toast - "May you be in heaven half an hour before The Devil knows you're dead". It's an effective blend of crime flick and family melodrama that features a pair of finely judged performances from its leads. Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Hank (Ethan Hawke) play the brothers afflicted by financial, relationship and substance abuse problems. Increasingly desperate, they come up with a scheme to rob the family jewellery store. But their criminal enterprise is a disaster that ends in violence and soon the net of retribution closes in, both in the form of the police and their dad (a wildly overacting Albert Finney). Hoffman is predictably excellent as a son full of fury at his father, which he hides beneath a smooth, diffident exterior; but equally impressive is Hawke as the younger sibling, a boy/man so terrified he seems to be permanently on the verge of tears. Like most melodrama, it's on the wrong side of subtle, but this is top quality stuff that maintains the director's sterling reputation.


Two brothers are both in need of money - one is struggling to support his ex-wife and their daughter, the other is embezzling to cover his cocaine habit. The elder suggests robbing their parents' jewellery store, as they know heir way around the security, and insurance will cover what they steal - but their seemingly perfect crime ends in tragedy. Crime drama, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke and Albert Finney.

Cast & Crew

Andy Hanson Philip Seymour Hoffman
Hank Hanson Ethan Hawke
Gina Hanson Marisa Tomei
Charles Hanson Albert Finney
Nanette Hanson Rosemary Harris
Bobby Brian F O'Byrne
Martha Amy Ryan
Chris Aleksa Palladino
Dex Michael Shannon
Justin Blaine Horton
Director Sidney Lumet
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: EntertainmentGuidance: Swearing, sex scenes and drug abuse.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 11 Jan 2008