Direction skipping about between time-periods (one minute it's the day of the robbery, next minute it's 2 days earlier, next minute it's 4 days earlier etc) very pretentious and annoying. Albert Finney grossly miscast and acted dreadfully with a cod accent. Needed a bit of editing.
An absolutely devastating film. Three brilliant performances from Hoffman, Hawke, and Finney are on show here, and they rank among the best of 2007. But the real star is Lumet. His final film is one of his greatest, and his touch is everywhere. No-one besides Sidney Lumet could've made this. Martin Scorsese and Michael Mann might've given it a go, but this is Lumet's, through and through. A truly groundbreaking film.
Sidney Lumet has undoubtedly forever informed the way I look at the craft of filmmaking. I'm almost finished reading his book on filmmaking & have listened to multiple of his audio commentaries. His films are not perfect, but they are consistently his & uniquely shot to the specific story it tells. He articulates the characteristics of melodrama, the particulars of practicality & the true nature of cinematic style.
It's good, but Lumet just didn't take time with exploring characters and picturing the hidden, meaningful things. Far too much plain showing of the happening. I guess it's this thing I have with Lumet - his movies are good, but they just don't have "it".
I wanted to give this 4.5 stars, but couldn't. Philliip Seymour Hoffman was, as usual, awesome; so was Albert Finney. But Ethan Hawke was weak. I can't decide if that was just his character or not. All-in-all, a great, tragic film addressing a wide-range of issues. Didn't care for the hap-hazard chronology, however.
Not what I'd consider a "likable" experience, but undeniably an exceptional motion picture. It did a good job of ratcheting up the gravity of the situation, the consequences of the players' action, and that's hard to find, especially in modern movies. Tense, unnerving and sad. Very, very sad.
the full title, as seen in the movie is "May you be in heaven half an hour... before the devil knows you're dead." and it's terribly appropriate. this film manages to contain an great to unmanageable tension from the first scene to the closing credits. by default the stakes are high on heist films, here, mixed with massive melodrama and greek tragedy, it is only the beginning... the half hour before the devil knows.
I think the masterful thing about Lumet movies is his casting. Every single movie, the pieces seem like they were built from the ground up around the actors. Hoffman is just so evil and so self-righteous, and Hawke is just so goddamn pathetic. And Michael Shannon doing that role right after coming down Shotgun Stories.... Genius. He really is the "actor's director.