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NYFF: “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.”

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May you be in heaven a half hour...Sidney Lumet‘s "Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead" is a robbery-gone-wrong thriller that’s heavy on the wrong. The crime’s a petty one, the clumsy hold-up of a suburban strip mall jewelry store that leaves someone dead, someone else seriously injured, and someone — Hank (Ethan Hawke) — peeling out of the parking lot, completely panicked. From there the film leaps back and forth in time and to different POVs at the behest of an odd little effect perhaps meant to recall the act of shattering, and as we study the events from different angles, we get a better understanding of the extent to which things have spectacularly gone to shit, that the store belongs to Hank’s parents, that Hank set out to rob it in partnership with his brother Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and that the one hurt is their mother (Rosemary Harris).

The screenplay, the first from playwright Kelly Masterson, is a showy little thing with its puzzle box structure and its ponderous themes of manhood, of fathers and sons. Lumet knows his way around crime and repercussions, and does his best to ground the story by setting it in an unpretty version of New York from which the suburbs trail out like the untidy backstage of a theater. Then he turns things over to his actors, one of whom is, fortunately, Hoffman, who works wonders as the supposedly successful son nursing daddy issues, ample self-loathing and dual drug habits. In a film in which every character is revealed to be more and more unpleasant, he actually gathers sympathy as his world begins to crumble. Hawke does less well as the lifelong fuckup whose finances are at the mercy of his castrating harpy of an ex, and Marisa Tomei appears in the thankless but often unclothed role of Andy’s trophy wife Gina, a girl who pines for her husband’s attention but is in the meanwhile happy to take his cash. It’s all dark, dreary and pretty captivating until the blood-soaked conclusion, in which the story goes off the deep end and takes any sense of engagement we had with it.

"Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead" screens October 12 at 6pm and October 13 at 12:45pm at at Frederick P. Rose Hall. It opens October 26th in limited release from ThinkFilm.

+ "Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead" (FilmLinc)
+ "Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead" (IMDb)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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