Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead ★★★★

Debuting when the studio system was still at the height of its power with 1957’s 12 Angry Men, Sidney Lumet remained until his death a director astonishingly well-equipped to adapt to any story he wished to tell in the vein of classic Hollywood’s finest minds. His five decade career saw him tackle everything from dark drama to straight comedy, musicals to gangster pictures. Demonstrating at 83 the same narrative vivacity and dramatic depth as he had with his debut 50 years prior, Lumet could hardly have bowed out in a finer way than with Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, a film that deserves to be held up alongside the greatest works of his masterpiece-studded career. Drawing phenomenal work from Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, and Albert Finney, Lumet once more displays his incredible acuity as an actors’ director, crafting a film with the raw emotional energy a man quarter of his age would struggle to amass.