“That’s mom and dad’s store” … “That’s what I said. A ‘mom and pop’ operation.” A dark crime thriller directed by the great Sidney Lumet, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead features exceptional acting from a strong cast that includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Marisa Tomei, Albert Finney and Rosemary Harris. Corporate executive and heroin addict “Andy Hanson” (Hoffman) needs money quickly (he’s been embezzling from the firm to support his habit!) and goads his spineless, dim-witted younger brother “Hank” (Hawke) into participating in a desperate plot to rob the strip-mall jewelry store owned by their parents “Charles and Nanette” (Finney and Harris). Of course, the entire ill-advised plan backfires with tragic results. Meanwhile, Andy’s wife “Gina” (Tomei) is having an affair with Hank. The plot unfolds through flashbacks and multiple perspectives. The movie’s title comes from an Irish toast: "May you have food and raiment, a soft pillow for your head; may you be 40 years in heaven, before the devil knows you're dead." If you’re a Hoffman fan like me, don’t miss this one, as well as the even lesser-known Love Liza!
Useless Trivia: Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead was the last film of Lumet (1924-2011), who also directed such classics as 12 Angry Men (1957), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Network (1976) and The Verdict (1982), among others.