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Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)


Written by Tim Dirks

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Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)

In this fatalistic, neo-noir crime melodrama-thriller by veteran director Sidney Lumet - it was a heist tale, told in non-linear flashback about two ill-fated brothers:

  • the two 'Cain and Abel' brothers in the story were:
    • Andy Hanson (Philip Seymour Hoffman) - a slobbish, bulky, smooth-talking and scheming but indebted New York real-estate broker-accountant
    • Hank Hanson (Ethan Hawke) - his deadbeat, divorced, weak and indecisive younger brother
  • in the opening scene, Andy made love (vigorously from behind, doggy-style) while on vacation with his beautiful, dark-haired trophy wife Gina (Marisa Tomei in a frequently-naked role) in an exotic Rio hotel room surrounded by mirrors. [Note: This particular scene has been rated as one of the worst sex scenes ever filmed.]
  • the two brothers master-minded a crazy (and completely botched) hold-up of their parents' Westchester suburban strip-mall jewelry store on a Saturday morning because they needed cash for debts
  • Hank needed child-support funds for his vindictive ex-wife Martha (Amy Ryan) and for his daughter, while Andy required money for his string of white-collar criminal activities, including an expensive heroin drug habit and male prostitutes, and to escape embezzlement charges by his company and the IRS
  • as a result of the heist, there were two fatalities:
    • the brothers' masked accomplice Bobby Lasorda (Brían F. O'Byrne)
    • Mrs. Nanette Hanson (Rosemary Harris), who happened to be filling in for the regular store clerk Doris
  • Andy and Hank's father Charles Hanson (Albert Finney), was determined to make the unidentified robbers pay for their crime of murdering his wife
  • at the same time, restless, miserable and reckless Gina also visited Andy's brother Hank on a weekly basis to have sex in his dumpy apartment. During one clandestine tryst, he wanted to run away with her and escape his debts and disastrous problems in his life, but she reminded him of his responsibilities (child support, his daughter, the rent, etc.); in the kitchen as she stood topless before Hank, Gina told him: ""You've (got) a really good thing going. You should just enjoy it. We had a really good time in bed. I don't ask for anything"; he responded plaintively: "I love you. I want more"; she seductively and sensuously approached him and said: "So does, uh, Oliver Twist. Can I help you to seconds, or do you really, really, really have to get back? Huh?" [Note: Ironically, Andy had a similar conversation with his drug dealer]
  • the film's bloody climax was the result of an effort to cover up the trail of evidence, or to silence the brothers' blackmailing creditors. Andy murdered his heroin dealer (along with an innocent client), and also lethally shot Bobby's blackmailing brother-in-law Dex (Michael Shannon)
  • subsequently Andy was severely injured by Bobby's widowed wife Chris (Aleksa Palladino) and hospitalized, where Charles (who had been doggedly following the two brothers) was able to suffocate Andy to death with a pillow for his role in killing Nanette

Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) with Gina (Marisa Tomei)

Gina with Hank in His Bedroom and Kitchen


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