Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)

R | 116-117 or 123 mins | Drama | 2007

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HISTORY

The film’s title is presented onscreen as the second line in the following traditional Irish toast: “May you be in heaven half an hour . . . before the devil knows you’re dead.” A longer version of the toast reads: “May you have food and raiment, a soft yellow pillow for your head; may you be forty years in heaven, before the devil knows you’re dead.” The end credits give thanks to the following organizations and people: The people of New York; the City of New York Mayor’s Office for Film, Theatre and Broadcasting; the New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture and Television Development; NYPD, MOFT unit; and Sgt. Neil Criscuolo, NYFD. The story’s shifts in time and changing points of view are announced by title cards interspersed throughout the film. Each title card indicates which character’s point of view is being presented and how many days before or after the robbery the subsequent action occurs.
       Before the Devil Knows You're Dead was the final film of director Sidney Lumet (1924--2011). According to a 21 Oct 2007 NYT interview with Lumet, who is credited as a co-screenwriter with Kelly Masterson in HR production charts, his revision of the script included making the two male protagonists brothers instead of friends and adding the opening lovemaking scene. In a 16 Sep 2007 interview for the JAM! Movies column on the website jam.canoe.ca, Lumet speculated that the character “Hank” would likely have blown his ill-gotten cash and become a drunk, while father “Charles” would have retreated to a small town and never spoken to anyone ... More Less

The film’s title is presented onscreen as the second line in the following traditional Irish toast: “May you be in heaven half an hour . . . before the devil knows you’re dead.” A longer version of the toast reads: “May you have food and raiment, a soft yellow pillow for your head; may you be forty years in heaven, before the devil knows you’re dead.” The end credits give thanks to the following organizations and people: The people of New York; the City of New York Mayor’s Office for Film, Theatre and Broadcasting; the New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture and Television Development; NYPD, MOFT unit; and Sgt. Neil Criscuolo, NYFD. The story’s shifts in time and changing points of view are announced by title cards interspersed throughout the film. Each title card indicates which character’s point of view is being presented and how many days before or after the robbery the subsequent action occurs.
       Before the Devil Knows You're Dead was the final film of director Sidney Lumet (1924--2011). According to a 21 Oct 2007 NYT interview with Lumet, who is credited as a co-screenwriter with Kelly Masterson in HR production charts, his revision of the script included making the two male protagonists brothers instead of friends and adding the opening lovemaking scene. In a 16 Sep 2007 interview for the JAM! Movies column on the website jam.canoe.ca, Lumet speculated that the character “Hank” would likely have blown his ill-gotten cash and become a drunk, while father “Charles” would have retreated to a small town and never spoken to anyone again. Lumet also commented in the interview that when he was filming the same scene told from different points of view, he used separate set-ups and different visual styles. As noted onscreen, the picture was shot using a high-definition Panavision Genesis camera at various locations in New York City and at the Hell Gate Studios in Astoria, NY. Specific New York area locations included Bayside, Queens, White Plains and Yonkers.
       Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead was made for approximately $10,000,000 and distributed by THINKFilm, a “sister” company to London-based Capitol Films, which financed the picture. According to an interview with Masterson on the Writers Guild of America West website, the film's screenplay had been completed seven years before Lumet saw the script and decided to film it.
       According to a 13 Jul 2007 HR article, an “unofficial trailer” featuring nude footage of Marisa Tomei was leaked online by a French website, but the film’s official trailer did not include the footage. Following its screening at the Deauville Film Festival in France, the picture was shown at the Toronto Film Festival on 13 Sep 2007; the New York Film Festival on 12 Oct 2007; and the Cinema Rome Film Fest on 20 Oct 2007. In addition to its inclusion on AFI’s list of Movies of the Year for 2007, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead won the Boston Society of Critics 2007 award for Best Ensemble Cast. Tomei was nominated for a Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Featured Actress, and Amy Ryan, who plays “Martha” in the picture, won the 2007 Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s award for Best Supporting Actress. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead marked Masterson’s first produced screenplay. He was nominated for a 2007 Film Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jul 2006.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jul 2007
p. 2, 42.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Sep 2007
p. 10, 40.
International Cinematographer's Guild
Nov 2007
pp. 57-59.
New York
29 Oct 2007.
---
New York Times
21 Oct 2007.
---
New York Times
26 Oct 2007
p. 1, 8.
New Yorker
29 Oct 2007.
---
Rolling Stone
1 Nov 2007.
---
Screen International
2 Jun 2006.
---
Variety
10 Sep 2007
p. 83, 85.
Village Voice
24--30 Oct 2007
p. 72.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Co-exec prod
Co-exec prod
Co-prod
Co-prod
Line prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
A cam op
B cam op
1st asst A cam
1st asst B cam
2d asst A cam
2d asst B cam
Asst cam
Cam utility
Still photog
Gaffer
Best boy elec
Rigging gaffer
Best boy rigging elec
Generator op
Best boy grip
A dolly grip
B dolly grip
Key rigging grip
Best boy rigging grip
Film loader
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
Assoc ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
On set dresser
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Shop craft coord
Key const grip
Const grip
Const shop elec
Scenic charge
Scenic foreman
Cam scenic
Const staff asst
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Cost supv
Key cost
Set cost
MUSIC
Mus cond and orch
Scoring mixer
Mus contractor
Asst to Mr. Burwell
Mus copyist
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
1st boom op
2d boom op
Supv sd ed
Dial/ADR ed
Foley ed
Efx ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd services provided by
Dolby Sound consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Dept head, hair
Dept head, makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Extras casting
Casting dir
Unit prod mgr
Prod supv
Post prod supv
Scr supv
Unit pub
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Loc coord
Loc asst
Loc scout
Parking coord
Asst prod office coord
Prod secy
Prod accountant
1st asst accountant
2d asst accountant
Payroll accountant
Accounting clerk
Asst to Mr. Lumet
Asst to Mr. Cerenzie and Mr. Linse
Asst to Mr. Gilmore
Asst to Mr. Bergstein
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Craft service
On set craft service person
Catering co
Caterer
Office staff asst
Office staff asst
Set staff asst
Set staff asst
Set staff asst
Set staff asst
Payroll services provided by
Completion bond by
Cinefinance
Legal counsel by
Prod finance provided by
Gap financing provider
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Mr. O'Byrne's stunt double
Insert car driver
Stand in for Mr. Hoffman
Stand in for Mr. Hawke
Stand in for Mr. Finney
Stand in for Ms. Tomei
COLOR PERSONNEL
Digital imaging tech
Col timer
SOURCES
SONGS
"The Pride" and “Julia,” written by Christopher Ziter, Alexandra Bell and Jeffrey Baron, performed by The Essex Green, courtesy of Merge Records, by arrangement with Bank Robber Music
“Bad Man Blood,” written by Michael Kisur and Darren Coverdale, performed by Michael Kisur, courtesy of Barbara Jordan/Heavy Hitters Music
“Change Your Life,” “Hard to Be Easy” and “Motel California,” written by Mark Rozzo, performed by Champale, courtesy of Aloha Buffet Music
+
SONGS
"The Pride" and “Julia,” written by Christopher Ziter, Alexandra Bell and Jeffrey Baron, performed by The Essex Green, courtesy of Merge Records, by arrangement with Bank Robber Music
“Bad Man Blood,” written by Michael Kisur and Darren Coverdale, performed by Michael Kisur, courtesy of Barbara Jordan/Heavy Hitters Music
“Change Your Life,” “Hard to Be Easy” and “Motel California,” written by Mark Rozzo, performed by Champale, courtesy of Aloha Buffet Music
“Morning Star,” written by Mark Rozzo, performed by Maplewood, courtesy of Aloha Buffet Music
“Carolina Jasmine,” written by Steve Koester, performed by Maplewood, courtesy of Herr K Songs
“This Too Shall Pass,” written by Lonnie Rutledge, performed by Lonnie.
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DETAILS
Release Date:
2007
Premiere Information:
World premiere at Deauville Film Festival: 6 September 2007
New York opening: 26 October 2007
Los Angeles opening: 2 November 2007
Production Date:
10 July--29 August 2006 at Hell Gate Studios, Astoria, NY, and in New York City
Copyright Claimant:
Capitol Films Limited
Copyright Date:
2007
Copyright Number:
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Digital; SDDS Sony Dynamic Digital Sound in selected theatres
Color
Technicolor
Lenses/Prints
Filmed with Panavision Genesis HD cameras and lenses; HD processing by Technicolor/NY
Duration(in mins):
116-117 or 123
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
43235
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After a satisfying round of lovemaking in a Rio de Janeiro hotel room, New Yorkers Andy and Gina Hanson discuss their crumbling marriage and wonder why their sex life is so much better in Brazil. When Gina becomes excited at the prospect of moving to Brazil, Andy promises to think about ways to make the change happen. Sometime later, at a small suburban American shopping center, a masked man enters a jewelry store moments after it opens. Brandishing a handgun, the man orders the matronly store employee into a corner and begins to load a bag with cash and jewels. As the robber turns to smash open the diamond case, the woman grabs a gun hidden in a drawer and shoots him in the back. From the floor, the wounded robber shoots the woman, who returns fire, killing the intruder as he is fleeing. Outside in a waiting car, a young man in a wig and glasses panics at the robbery’s outcome and speeds away. Three days before the robbery, the young man, Andy’s brother Hank, fights with his angry ex-wife Martha about their daughter Danielle and the months of child support money he owes. That night at Mooney’s bar, the smooth-talking Andy suggests to Hank that his financial woes would be over if he participated in a victimless robbery that would net them $60,000 each. Hank nervously asks for details, but Andy, who constantly talks down to his brother, refuses to divulge specifics until Hank commits fully to the plan. The next day, during their weekly afternoon tryst, Hank tells sister-in-law Gina that he wants more out of ... +


After a satisfying round of lovemaking in a Rio de Janeiro hotel room, New Yorkers Andy and Gina Hanson discuss their crumbling marriage and wonder why their sex life is so much better in Brazil. When Gina becomes excited at the prospect of moving to Brazil, Andy promises to think about ways to make the change happen. Sometime later, at a small suburban American shopping center, a masked man enters a jewelry store moments after it opens. Brandishing a handgun, the man orders the matronly store employee into a corner and begins to load a bag with cash and jewels. As the robber turns to smash open the diamond case, the woman grabs a gun hidden in a drawer and shoots him in the back. From the floor, the wounded robber shoots the woman, who returns fire, killing the intruder as he is fleeing. Outside in a waiting car, a young man in a wig and glasses panics at the robbery’s outcome and speeds away. Three days before the robbery, the young man, Andy’s brother Hank, fights with his angry ex-wife Martha about their daughter Danielle and the months of child support money he owes. That night at Mooney’s bar, the smooth-talking Andy suggests to Hank that his financial woes would be over if he participated in a victimless robbery that would net them $60,000 each. Hank nervously asks for details, but Andy, who constantly talks down to his brother, refuses to divulge specifics until Hank commits fully to the plan. The next day, during their weekly afternoon tryst, Hank tells sister-in-law Gina that he wants more out of their relationship than illicit sex. Citing his lack of money and prospects, Gina gently dismisses Hank’s dream of togetherness. Later, Hank proudly watches Danielle perform in a school play and, when pressed, agrees to buy her tickets to an expensive Broadway show. Hank, who works as a low-level property manager for the same Manhattan real estate company as payroll chief Andy, meets his brother in his office the following day and announces he wants in on the robbery. When Andy informs Hank that he will be robbing their parents’ Westchester jewelry store, however, Hank balks, even though Andy assures him their parents’ insurance will cover any losses and Doris, their elderly clerk, will be manning the store that morning. Finally, after Andy gives him a $2,000 advance using money embezzled from his employer, Hank agrees to commit the robbery. Hank then enlists friend Bobby Lasorda, who works at Mooney’s, to participate in the crime. Early the next morning after renting a car, Hank picks up Bobby at the apartment he shares with girl friend Chris and their baby and, on the way to Westchester, stops to don a wig, moustache and glasses. An experienced criminal, Bobby laughs at Hank’s disguise and, revealing he has brought a gun, insists that he will rob the store while Hank waits in the car. As Hank pulls into the shopping center, his view of his parents’ store is blocked by a delivery truck, and he cannot see who is opening the store. Moments later, he hears three shots fired and, seeing Bobby fall through the door, peels out of the parking lot, crying and cursing. Once safely away, Hank calls Andy from a public phone, telling him that everything has gone horribly wrong. Four days before, at his office, the cocaine-sniffing Andy learns that his personal bank account is overdrawn and that an auditor will be examining his payroll books that coming Monday. Quietly, Andy removes money from the company’s cash box and heads to an upscale apartment building, where effeminate drug dealer Andre injects him with heroin. Andy tells the unsympathetic Andre that, unlike his payroll accounts, nothing in his life “adds up” or connects to anything else. Later, at his chic apartment, after yet another unsuccessful attempt at lovemaking, Andy suggests to Gina that they may be able to move to Brazil. Although unaware of Andy's plans, Gina, who, like Andy, knows that Brazil has no extradition agreement with the United States, becomes excited to think that Andy might be plotting. The next day, Andy goes to see William, an old jeweler and reputed fence, and, without revealing any details of his scheme, gives the man his calling card. In his office, Andy then discusses his plans with Hank. Andy claims that because he is known at the shopping center, he cannot participate in the robbery himself and convinces Hank to commit the crime using a toy gun. The day after receiving the frantic post-robbery call from Hank, Andy joins his brother at a Westchester hospital, where they are stunned to learn that their mother Nanette, not Doris, was shot during the robbery. Without revealing their guilt, Andy and Hank comfort their father Charles in the hospital waiting room. The morning before the robbery, Charles studies for the next day’s driver’s license test and agrees to drop Nanette, who will be filling in for Doris, at the jewelry store beforehand. After passing his renewal test, Charles drives to the shopping center and learns about the robbery. Later, at the hospital, Charles tearfully tells the comatose Nanette, who is on life support, that he loves her. The next day, Charles reads about Bobby in the newspaper and wonders aloud why a thief from Brooklyn would rob a small store in Westchester. At the police station, Charles waits in vain to speak with a detective and, frustrated by the police’s seeming indifference, deliberately backs his car into a parked cruiser before driving away. Later, after a final visit with Nanette, Charles announces his decision to take her off life support and “let her go.” When the guilt-ridden Hank bolts from his mother’s wake, Charles declares to Andy that Hank has “always been a baby.” A few days before, immediately following the robbery, Hank wipes his prints off the rental car, returns the car to the dealer and gets drunk at Mooney’s. There, Hank is grilled by a furious Andy, who asks rhetorically why their mother had to be shot instead of their father. Hanks insists he left nothing behind in the rental car, but back at his dingy apartment, discovers a phone message from the rental agency informing him about a “personal item” found in the car. Realizing that the item is one of Bobby’s music CDs, Hank, fighting hysteria, tries to retrieve it from the agency the next day. Unsuccessful, Hank returns to Mooney’s, where he is accosted by Bobby’s girl friend Chris and Chris’s menacing brother Dex. Aware of Hank’s involvement in Bobby’s death, Dex threatens to expose him to the police unless he pays $10,000 to help care for Chris’s now fatherless child. After Martha laughingly refuses to lend him any money, Hank briefly contemplates overdosing on pills. At his mother’s wake, Hank departs abruptly and tries to contact Gina, who brushes him off. Hank then retrieves Bobby’s CD from the rental agency and reluctantly takes a call from Andy. Soon after the robbery, while his mother lies dying, Andy dodges anxious calls from a co-worker about his upcoming audit and pays an unscheduled visit to Andre, who angrily makes him wait for his heroin fix. Then, at Mooney’s, Andy berates Hank for involving Bobby in the robbery and not taking care of business. Later, as Nanette’s wake winds down, Charles apologizes to Andy for being a “bad father,” but unmoved, Andy accuses Charles of always favoring the more attractive but weak Hank. When Andy bitterly asks Charles if he is sure he is his son, Charles slaps him. On the drive home, Andy breaks down and rails against his family, frightening Gina with the intensity of his emotions. That evening, Andy again stops by Andre’s apartment unannounced but is turned away. Upon returning to his apartment, Andy is greeted by a grim Gina, who announces she is leaving him. Andy says nothing to dissuade her from going, and at the door, she informs him about her affair with Hank. Andy barely reacts to the admission but once alone, wrecks the apartment in frustration. Acting on a hunch, Charles, meanwhile, visits jeweler William, an old acquaintance. William bristles at Charles’ suggestion that he has always been a crook and spitefully shows him Andy’s calling card, noting that “the world is an evil place.” Stunned, Charles waits in his car outside Andy’s apartment, unaware that Gina has left him. Charles then follows Andy, who has learned about Dex’s demands, to Hank’s apartment. After Andy orders Hank to arrange a meeting with Dex at Chris’s apartment, Charles follows both brothers to Andre’s apartment building. There, in front of Hank, an armed Andy shoots and kills Andre and his dozing heroin customer, then grabs Andre’s stash of money and drugs. Trailed by Charles, the brothers head for Chris’s apartment, where Andy coldly shoots Dex. When Andy threatens to kill Chris, too, Hank protests, and Andy turns the gun on his brother, revealing that he knows about Hank’s affair with Gina. Seeing his brother’s rage, Hank begs Andy to kill him, but before Andy can fire his weapon, Chris snatches a gun that Dex had hidden in a pizza box and shoots Andy. Outside, as a helpless Charles watches, Hank runs from the building, still carrying Andre’s cash and drugs. That night Charles visits the wounded Andy in the hospital and listens quietly as Andy finally confesses his crimes. Charles assures Andy that all will be fine but, as soon as his son falls asleep, places the electrodes from Andy’s heart monitor on his own chest and smothers Andy to death with a pillow. Feigning alarm, Charles calls for help and, as a crash cart is rushed into Andy’s room, calmly heads for the exit. +

Legend
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Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.