9.29.2008

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead - Movie Review

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Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
**---

I just wasn't impressed. It looks sleek. The actors are dead-on with their depictions. The story has a fractured narrative to keep thing interesting. There are even a few clever twists here and there to keep the element of surprise. Still, I just couldn't get into Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. I wasn't entertained by it. True, I had more than enough on my plate to be happily distracted, but the film continued in the background of my mind until it reached an inevitable conclusion and ended with a whimper so quiet I had nearly forgot about it up to this point.

The director Sydney Lumet has a resume that includes some of the most celebrated movies in film history. His work includes Network, Dog Day Afternoon, 12 Angry Men, The Wiz, I could continue, but I won't, because to be honest, those movies kind of bored me as well. It shames me to say it, but it doesn't take a full viewing to see what some film classics are getting at. As Network served as a prophetic glimpse into the evolution of entertainment, Before the Devil Knows Your Dead could perhaps serve as the "fainting goat," the less fit and failing to survive animal soon to be pushed off the brink of extinction. It's an art-house film meant for the art-house patrons, and you'll either love it or shrug your shoulders.

The story, meanwhile, is about as depressing as you could expect it to be. Two brothers, one wealthy and one much less than that, team together in a scheme to rob a small jewelry store owned by their parents. The duo face a dilemma uniquely biblical in it's moral compromises. As the situation escalates, the characters find themselves sinking into bigger and deeper holes. The solutions, as one might expect, are not wholesome. The resulting judgments and executions are just as biblical in their scope.

It really is somewhat epic at times, and without a doubt, morally intense. Still, the movie is relentlessly tiring in it's run-time and the long extended silences, no matter how effective, test patience while viewing.

Before the Devil Knows Your Dead is an interesting and extremely well made film, however that doesn't necessarily mean it's worth viewing. It's a story perhaps better suited to another medium, as a novel, or even a comic. As a film it wanes over time.
To be completely honest, I don't recommend it.

4 comments:

Siobhan said...

so i think i need to read a review of yours that actually likes a movie...

Zack Newcott said...

*sigh,* fine. I guess I'll start watching good movies again. OR, just watch CLoverfield over and over again.

Siobhan said...

try pride and prejudice, BBC. there's a fellow in it you would really admire

Zack Newcott said...

Hmmm, now if they only made a version starring Michael Cera...