Saturday 12 April 2008

84 and still Dancing

Sidney Lumet is still at it. 51 years after Twelve Angry Men he can still deliver something special, and there's another to come next year.
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
starts with a sex scene that could not have been shown just a few years ago, then a setup and a robbery that goes horribly wrong. It circles round these same events, first slowly, then with gathering pace, picking up more damning details on every passage. As you begin to realise the inevitability of the trajectory, it spirals into a tragedy of Greek proportions. Philip Seymour Hofmann personifies the tragedy in yet another great performance.
In a way the film underplays the enormity of the transgressions it records - of parenthood, of brotherhood, of marriage. Mere professional relationships are sacrificed at the drop of a hat. The depth of the tragedy may not hit you until the credits roll, but when it does the blow is mortal.

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