re: Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

Great title, decent movie. Probably one of the most indecent openings I’ve ever seen, and the entire movie is depressing as hell. Marissa Tomei steals the show in a scene where she confronts her husband, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman over her infidelity. The scene pictured to the left, in which she confronts somebody else, is a real shocker. Hoffman is also pretty good as the successful banker with an upscale heroin problem. Ethan Hawke plays his brother as one of the most pitiful saps around (His daughter yells into the phone at him, “How am I going to face all my friends when they know what a loser you are?!”). Painful.

It certainly goes against the current trend of glamourizing the life of continual crime. The Bank Job, all those Soderbergh Ocean movies, The Italian Job, The Thomas Crown Affair – the criminals are always one step ahead of everybody else, including the audience. But the movies themselves seem a little dumb – we all have to pretend this kind of dramatic irony is possible for all of us. For the dumb-ass Hoffman and Hawke characters, Life becomes a series of the worst decisions they could possibly make. And yet the movie is pretty good. Go figure.


  1. Theocoid says

    Another surprisingly bleak movie was "The Wrestler" with Mickey Rourke. Very similar father-daughter confrontation scene.

  2. Rufus McCain says

    I thought there was some grace shining through the bleakness of The Wrestler, though. A winsome quality, as well as some glints of redemptive suffering, that transcended the screwed-up-ness.

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