“In its relentless and uncompromising nastiness, cold-sweat tension and fear, its serious engagement with the idea of evil and sin and finally in the way it evolves, persuasively, into a kind of contemporary family tragedy, this is in a different league.” - Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

“What a movie. What a director.” - Tom Long, Detroit News

“Bleak, brutal and quite possibly brilliant, this is a triumphant return to form for Lumet.” - Helen O'Hara, Empire Magazine

Saturday, August 17, 3:00 p.m. & Wednesday, August 21, 6:00 p.m. | Family, betrayal, high stakes, and really, really bad choices. BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD would make Shakespeare proud. In Lumet’s final feature film before his death in 2011, Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and his younger brother Hank (Ethan Hawke) are both in tight spots. Andy is sinking deeper into debt and drug addiction, and Hank is woefully behind on child support. For some quick cash, they hatch a plan to commit a “victimless crime”: rob their parents Charles and Annette’s (Albert Finney, Rosemary Harris) jewelry store. Things do not go as planned. Told non-linearly, the dread-soaked puzzle pieces of this gritty crime drama are seen from the perspective of Andy, Hank, and Charles on the days leading up to and following the botched crime. Tension ratchets as the runtime ticks by (when Michael Shannon appears as a heavy looking for a payout you know things have turned from bad to worse), and each man spirals further into despair. As Lumet once said, “One of the automatic things about drama is family.” Here, with his last film, Lumet crafts a stunner that will make your tense Thanksgiving dinners look like a walk in the park.

Awards & Nominations

Winner - Movie of the Year, AFI Awards
Winner - Best Ensemble Cast, Boston Society of Film Critics Awards
Winner - Best Ensemble Performance, Gotham Awards
Nominee - Best Supporting Female (Marisa Tomei), Best First Screenplay, Film Independent Spirit Awards

Sidney Lumet CentennialSidney Lumet (1924–2011) was a director driven by stories of morality. Corrupt systems vs. brave protagonists, the worst of men pitted against the best, honesty in the face of hypocrisy—Lumet’s filmography reflects his dedication to championing what is true and what is just in this harsh world. To celebrate his centennial, we present 12 films by the Oscar-winning filmmaker, June 1–August 21View full series

The Film Center is ADA accessible. This presentation will be projected without open captions. The theater is hearing-loop equipped. For accessibility requests, please email filmcenter@saic.edu