“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”

This 2007 thriller was Sydney Lumet’s last film. Lumet is most notable for directing, in consecutive years, the masterpieces “Dog Day Afternoon” and “Network.” The latter won best picture in 1976.

“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke. Mr. Hawke is extremely good, in the most important role in the film. It concerns a small-time diamond heist, which the pair of brothers attempt to pull off on their own parents’ store. Of course, plenty goes wrong. Lumet tells the story in pieces, and he does so in a pretty straightforward manner. What results is a lucid puzzle, which comes together slowly and without making the viewer work.

The film isn’t anything spectacular, by any means, but it’s an excellent waste of time. In the end, that’s all we can ask of a movie, right?

p.s. Marisa Tomei is in it. This fact cannot possibly be construed as a bad thing.

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