Celka Hanson

Written by Celka Hanson

Modified & Updated: 04 Mar 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

Source: Hulu.com

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead is a gripping and intense crime drama directed by the legendary Sidney Lumet. Released in 2007, the film follows the harrowing story of two brothers, portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke, who plan a seemingly foolproof crime that goes disastrously wrong.

With an all-star cast, including Marisa Tomei and Albert Finney, the movie delves deep into the dark underbelly of family dysfunction and the consequences of desperate actions. It is a thrilling and thought-provoking exploration of morality, greed, and the destructive power of secrets.

In this article, we will delve into 47 fascinating facts about Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, ranging from behind-the-scenes trivia to the impact it had on the careers of the cast and crew. So, hold on tight as we take a deep dive into this critically acclaimed film.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dive into the intense world of “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” for a gripping crime drama filled with family secrets, desperate actions, and unexpected consequences.
  • Experience the power of nonlinear storytelling, emotionally charged performances, and thought-provoking themes in this captivating film that continues to captivate audiences years after its release.
Table of Contents

The movie is named after an Irish saying

The title “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” is based on an old Irish saying: “May you be in heaven a full half-hour before the devil knows you’re dead.” This phrase reflects the characters’ desperate attempts to carry out their plan undetected.

The screenplay is written by Kelly Masterson

Kelly Masterson penned the screenplay for the film, which marked his debut as a feature film writer. His script brought intricate storytelling and intense character dynamics to the big screen.

Sidney Lumet directed the film at the age of 83

Veteran director Sidney Lumet helmed “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” at the impressive age of It was Lumet’s last completed film before his passing in 2011.

The movie is nonlinearly structured

The film employs a non-linear narrative structure, revealing the story through a series of overlapping timelines and perspectives. This technique adds depth and suspense to the plot.

It received critical acclaim

“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” garnered widespread critical acclaim for its gripping storytelling, powerful performances, and thought-provoking themes. The film holds an impressive 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The performances were highly praised

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke deliver riveting performances as the conflicted brothers at the center of the film. Their portrayal of complex characters earned them accolades and award nominations.

It explores themes of family, guilt, and consequence

The film delves into the dark underbelly of family dynamics, examining the ways in which guilt and consequences can unravel lives. It poses profound questions about morality and the choices we make.

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke had previously worked together

Before starring in the film, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke had previously worked together in “Flawless” (1999). Their on-screen chemistry adds depth to their portrayal of troubled brothers.

The movie features nonlinear storytelling

To enhance the suspense and engage the viewers, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” employs a nonlinear storytelling approach. This keeps the audience on the edge of their seats as they piece together the events.

The film was shot on location in New York

The movie was primarily shot on location in New York City, capturing the gritty urban atmosphere that adds to the intensity of the story. The city becomes a character in itself.

Marisa Tomei plays a pivotal role

Marisa Tomei delivers a compelling performance as Gina, the wife of one of the brothers. Her character becomes entangled in the family’s web of secrets, putting her in a precarious position.

The heist-gone-wrong theme adds tension

The film revolves around a meticulously planned heist that goes awry, leading to a chain of events that spirals out of control. The constant sense of impending disaster creates a nail-biting viewing experience.

Sidney Lumet’s masterful directing shines through

Renowned director Sidney Lumet brings his masterful touch to “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” showcasing his ability to create tension, evoke emotions, and extract powerful performances.

The movie explores fractured family relationships

At its core, the film examines the fractured relationships within a family, where secrets, betrayal, and hidden agendas threaten to tear them apart.

The nonlinear structure adds layers to the story

By employing a nonlinear narrative structure, the film explores the motivations and perspectives of each character, adding depth and complexity to the story.

The movie delves into morally gray territory

“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” challenges traditional notions of right and wrong, blurring the lines between hero and villain. It plunges the audience into a morally gray world.

The film showcases Sidney Lumet’s signature realism

Known for his realistic approach, Sidney Lumet brings his trademark authenticity to the film, capturing the raw emotions and gritty reality of the characters and their surroundings.

Albert Finney delivers a powerful performance

Acclaimed actor Albert Finney shines in the role of the determined father seeking justice for his family. His commanding presence adds gravitas to the film.

The movie explores the consequences of desperate actions

“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” explores the far-reaching consequences of desperate actions, forcing the characters to confront the devastating aftermath of their choices.

The film examines the fragility of trust

Trust becomes a tenuous thread throughout the movie, as characters’ loyalties are tested, leading to shocking revelations and unexpected alliances.

Ethan Hawke’s character is struggling financially

Ethan Hawke plays the younger brother, who is dealing with financial struggles and is enticed by the prospect of a lucrative heist as a means to escape his troubles.

The movie delves into the never-ending pursuit of happiness

Through its complex characters, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” explores the constant pursuit of happiness and the lengths people will go to achieve it.

The screenplay underwent multiple rewrites

Kelly Masterson’s screenplay went through several revisions to fine-tune the intricate plot and strengthen the characters. The collaborative effort paid off in making a captivating film.

The film had a limited theatrical release

Despite its critical acclaim, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” had a limited theatrical release, but gained a loyal following and became highly regarded among cinephiles.

The movie explores the fragility of familial bonds

“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” exposes the fragility of familial bonds, showing how even the strongest ties can unravel under the weight of secrets and lies.

The film’s cinematography enhances the tension

The cinematography in “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” effectively captures the tension and unease of the characters, using lighting and framing to create a sense of foreboding.

The movie delves into the depths of human desperation

The film takes viewers on a journey into the depths of human desperation, exploring the lengths individuals will go to in order to protect themselves and their loved ones.

The performances are emotionally charged

The cast delivers emotionally charged performances, allowing viewers to fully connect with the characters’ internal struggles and emotional turmoil.

The movie raises ethical questions

“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” raises thought-provoking ethical questions, challenging the audience to reflect on the nature of right and wrong, and the consequences of our actions.

The film’s editing is masterfully done

The editing in “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” seamlessly weaves together the different timelines and perspectives, enhancing the suspense and propelling the story forward.

The movie explores the duality of human nature

The film delves into the complex duality of human nature, showcasing how even the most seemingly normal individuals can be driven to extremes under certain circumstances.

The nonlinear narrative keeps the audience engaged

By presenting the story in a non-chronological order, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” keeps the audience engaged, piecing together the events and unraveling the mystery.

The film’s soundtrack enhances the intensity

The haunting and atmospheric soundtrack of “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” heightens the tension and adds to the overall sense of unease throughout the film.

The movie depicts the destructive power of secrets

“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” highlights how secrets can corrode relationships and destroy lives, serving as a cautionary tale about the consequences of hiding the truth.

The film uses nonlinear narrative to build suspense

The non-linear narrative structure of the film helps to build suspense and keeps the audience guessing, adding layers of intrigue to the story.

The movie’s plot is filled with unexpected twists

“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” is renowned for its unpredictable twists and turns, leaving viewers on the edge of their seats as the story unravels.

The characters face dire consequences

The characters in “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” face dire consequences for their actions, leading to a downward spiral that tests their resolve and morality.

The film received nominations at major awards

Due to its powerful storytelling and strong performances, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” received nominations at various prestigious awards, including the Golden Globes and Independent Spirit Awards.

The movie’s opening scene sets the tone

The film’s opening scene sets the tone for the tension and suspense that follows, introducing the central characters and laying the groundwork for the complex web of events.

The nonlinear structure adds layers to the characters

The non-linear structure of the film allows for a deep exploration of each character’s motivations, fears, and desires, creating multi-dimensional personas that drive the story forward.

The film showcases the consequences of greed

“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” offers a cautionary tale about the destructive power of greed, illustrating how it can lead to irreversible consequences.

The movie explores the complexity of human relationships

The film delves into the intricacies of human relationships, portraying the fragility and complexity of familial bonds, friendships, and love.

The nonlinear narrative keeps viewers guessing

The non-linear narrative structure of the film keeps viewers engaged, piecing together the puzzle of events and guessing the outcomes, making it an enthralling viewing experience.

The film’s title holds thematic significance

The title “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” encapsulates the central theme of the movie: the pursuit of a perfect crime and the consequences that follow when secrets unravel.

The movie’s ending leaves room for interpretation

“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” concludes with a powerful and ambiguous ending, leaving room for interpretation and encouraging discussion among viewers.

The film’s themes resonate with audiences

The themes explored in “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” – greed, betrayal, family dynamics – strike a chord with audiences and provoke introspection.

The movie continues to captivate audiences

Even years after its release, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” continues to captivate audiences with its compelling storyline and exceptional performances.

There you have it, 47 fascinating facts about the movie Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. This intense crime drama showcases the complexities of human nature, the consequences of desperate actions, and the fragile nature of familial bonds. If you’re in the mood for a gripping, thought-provoking film, this one is definitely worth a watch.


In conclusion, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” is a gripping and intense movie that captivates audiences with its compelling storyline and stellar performances. With its intricate plot, powerful themes, and skillful direction, this film stands as a testament to the genius of director Sidney Lumet. From the standout performances by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke to the haunting cinematography and remarkable screenplay, every element comes together seamlessly to create a cinematic masterpiece. Whether you’re a fan of crime dramas or simply appreciate thought-provoking films, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” is a must-watch. Its exploration of moral ambiguity and family dynamics will leave you on the edge of your seat and contemplating its deeper meaning long after the credits roll.


1. Who directed “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”?

Sidney Lumet directed the film.

2. What is the genre of the movie?

The movie falls under the genre of a crime drama.

3. When was the movie released?

“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” was released in 2007.

4. Who are the main actors in the film?

The film features Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, and Marisa Tomei in the lead roles.

5. Is the movie based on a true story?

No, the movie is not based on a true story; it is a work of fiction.

6. What is the running time of the movie?

The movie has a running time of approximately 117 minutes.

7. Is the movie suitable for all ages?

No, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” is rated R for its violence, language, and adult themes.

8. What are some similar movies I might enjoy?

If you enjoyed “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” you might also like “A Simple Plan,” “No Country for Old Men,” and “Reservoir Dogs.”

9. Did the movie receive any awards or nominations?

Yes, the film received several awards and nominations, including an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay and a Satellite Award for Best Ensemble Cast.

10. Can I stream the movie online?

Yes, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” is available for streaming on various platforms such as Amazon Prime and Netflix.

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