I love movie trailers.  I always make sure to get to the theater in time to see all of the previews.  I am even disappointed when I get a DVD and it does not have any previews on it.  It’s a great way to decide what movies you are going to see and what ones you will certainly pass on.  What I do not like is when a preview is purposefully misleading.  They want a movie to seem interesting and intense, even when the movie would be better portrayed in a different light.  We Own The Night, from the trailer, looked to be an intense story about the powerful struggle between two brothers.  Yet the film is something completely different.  The Kite Runner, a movie which I loved, was made to seem far more adventurous and less dramatic.  These misconceptions which are created from the misleading trailers do a great deal to ruin enjoyment of the film itself.  Here is one more instance of that happening.

Starting this April 15th, now available on DVD from ThinkFilm and Image Entertainment is the latest independent film spun from the mind of legendary director Sidney Lumet.  Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead is now ready to watch at any time.  Bring home this interesting independent film today.

This film is the story of two brothers, Andy and Hank.  They are played by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke, respectively.  The woman Andy is married to, and Hank is having an affair with, is played by Marisa Tomei.  Their father is portrayed by Albert Finney.  Andy and Hank are both down on their luck.  We know this right away about Hank, but only learn it about Andy over time.  They need money and Andy has come up with the perfect plan – rob a jewelry store.  What makes it such a perfect plan?  They both know the store quite well – because it’s their parents’ store.  Hank brings a friend to the robbery and he brings a gun and his mom ends up being killed.  Characters fall apart, so many people die, and vengeance is taken.

The special features included in this DVD are a featurette about the making of this film which includes interviews with the actors and director, an optional audio commentary with Sidney Lumet, Ethan Hawke and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and the original theatrical trailer.

I heard very good things about this film and was truly looking forward to seeing it.  Parts of the film were certainly amazing.  The cinematography is wonderful, this wonderful cast of actors delivers some of their best performances of all time, the disjointed and overlapping storytelling is reminiscent of Memento and just as effective.  The look at the characters in this story is one of the best character studies of a descent into madness I have ever seen.  Yet somehow the story as a whole remained non-compelling.  I wanted to like this film, but it just didn’t do anything for me.  And when a story that should be this compelling doesn’t move you, there’s a problem there.

Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead is an interesting look at characters, but a failure as a film.

This DVD is available at Amazon.com.

Nathaniel Jonet

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