Nobody can hurt you quite like your own family.
Noir City ticketholders are in for a nasty treat with Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. Made in 2007, well reviewed but under appreciated, it doesn't tick the film noir box but it's a top level thriller, gripping from explosive beginning to crushing end, with timelines restarting to drip feed plot twists to the viewer. And “drip feed” is apropos as a descriptive, because it's like water torture watching the lives of the family at the center of this film come apart.
It all starts when Philip Seymour Hoffman—in desperate need of cash—convinces his little brother Ethan Hawke—also in need of money—to knock off a jewelry store. Neither are criminals, but the potential robbery is too easy to resist. The store, you see, belongs to their hardworking parents. It's literally a mom and pop operation, located in a quiet suburb, insufficiently guarded because there's never been an instant of trouble in all the years the place has been in business.
Hawke is good as a man who is never remotely in control of his circumstances, and Hoffman is brilliant, but Albert Finney drives the movie with righteous anger and unbearable heartbreak. Critics'fave Michael Shannon has a crucial role, Oscar winner Marisa Tomei is perfect as a woman in the middle of a mess she can only barely discern, and fourteen-time nominee Sidney Lumet directs with austere precision.
We originally saw Before the Devil Knows You're Dead years ago and always planned to rewatch it, but kept shying away from doing so because we knew it would be difficult to sit through again. Yeah. It's like that. Hard to watch—even with Marisa Tomei in it—when you know what's coming. But since you have no idea how it unfolds you'll get through it fine. We highly recommend that you queue this one up.
Sopranos actor found dead.
In Brooklyn, New York, authorities have found actor John Costelloe dead from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. Costelloe, who played the character Johnny Cakes on television’s Sopranos was found yesterday in his basement bedroom, but died days earlier. He had been appearing off-Broadway in playwright Jim Neu’s Gang of Seven, and was due on the big screen in Doubt opposite Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Neu said he had noticed a change in Costelloe’s mood of late, and had queried the actor what was bothering him, but without success. “He didn’t seem like the kind of guy who would reach out,” Neu said. “There couldn’t have been a more supportive and friendly group. If he wanted to reach out to people, we were right in front of him. I wish he did.”