Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Thumb Up: Before The Devil Knows You're Dead

Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Marisa Tomei, Albert Finney

Yesterday, I went to see Before The Devil Knows You're Dead. I'd say it was about what I expected, having seen an interview with Ethan Hawke and a clip that basically gave away the whole premise of the movie.

This is not for children as there is nudity; sexual activity and drug use are portrayed. The scenes that take place in Trump World Tower (TWT) were a side of life I had never knew existed so in that way my mind was expanded. One outdoor scene was filmed outside TWT in an area where I took this photo (the U.N. is in the background) back in June. I never did figure out what this sculpture is of, what it's called, why it's there.

The film was a little slow at times for my taste but I enjoyed it. This may have been the result of the story telling, which has a constantly changing time line a la Pulp Fiction. It was a bit distracting, but I was never lost, although some of this seemed to be a matter of style over clarity. Portions of the same scenes are replayed for the various time lines from different camera angles. I found myself looking for continuity errors, and wondering if all cameras were in place at the time the scenes were shot, instead of paying attention to the dialogue.

I was disappointed that the fate of a couple of characters were left up in the air. I guess I'd like everything tied up in a neat little bow at the end.

Philip Seymour Hoffman
All my years out in California, I only saw a few actors that I recognized. I ate next to PSH at a restaurant on Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica shortly after Boogie Nights. I also saw Daphne Zuniga (from Melrose Place) shopping later that afternoon.

Ethan Hawke
He fluidily alternates between studly and fugly from moment to moment.

Marisa Tomei
Understated acting, and I can tell you (in a good way) she hasn't had breast augmentation.

Albert Finney
I have a hard time seeing him as anything other than Erin Brockovich's boss.

Overall, it wasn't fantastic, but worth seeing at a matinee.


Al said...

Glad you liked it, even if it wasn't a major highlight. It's one that I've really wanted to see, and it's opening in Toronto Friday, so I may have to take your advice.

That's interesting you seeing Philip Seymour Hoffman. I've always really enjoyed his work and tend to think he's a very underrated actor. Did you see him in Magnolia? IMHO one of his best performances to date.

michael sean morris said...

I spent an hour this summer on the Internet trying to find the name of that sculpture. I looked everywhere. Even when I found its picture on Google Earth it wasn't labelled.

Shouldn't our public art be more honoured than this?

(And I agree with you on Ethan Hawke; he's disconcerting to watch because he goes from gross to hot and back again so quickly. It confuses my poor little mind.)