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Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

April 22, 2009

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Two morally questionable brothers decide to rob their parents’ jewelry store in a nondescript strip mall in suburban New York. Much of the film takes place in similarly monotonous dross; car-rental places, business casual restaurants, a real-estate office, sedan interiors, gray and glass apartment buildings, places I would venture only out of unexpected need or biannual obligation. They are the panoramas that provoke daydreams on long car rides. A trip to these horizontal landscapes serves only to remind me of the dreariness underlying everyday life. Hoffman, the sleazy, over-weight heroin-addicted, real-estate developing, older brother of Hawke, the sheepish, deadbeat dad who can’t pay child support are the sad byproducts of the great suburban generation. Financial success and failure intermingle, for no amount of money can save the morally bankrupt.

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