xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
Sidney Lumet's "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" is such a superb crime melodrama that I almost want to leave it at that. To just stop writing right now and advise you to go out and see it as soon as you can. I so much want to avoid revealing plot points that I don't even want to risk my usual strategy of oblique hints. You deserve to walk into this one cold.
Yet that would prevent my praise, and there is so much to praise about this film. Let me try to word this carefully. The movie stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke as brothers -- yes, brothers, because although they may not look related, they always feel as if they share a long and fraught history. Hoffman plays Andy, a payroll executive who dresses well and always has every hair slicked into place, but has a bad drug habit and an urgent need to raise some cash. Hawke plays Hank, much lower on the financial totem pole, with his own reasons for needing money; he can't face his little girl and admit he can't afford to pay for her class outing to attend "The Lion King." Hank looks more like the druggie, but you never can tell.
Andy suggests they solve their problems by robbing a jewelry store. And not just any jewelry store, but find out for yourself. He has it all mapped out as a victimless crime: They won't use guns, they'll hit early Saturday when the shopping mall doesn't have customers, the store's losses will be covered by insurance, and so on. Sounds good on paper, before everything goes wrong. And that's when the movie becomes intense and emotionally devastating.
These two brothers are capable of feeling emotions rare in modern crime films: grief and remorse. They cave in with regret. And they still need money; Andy learns that when you are heartbroken it is bad enough, but even worse when your legs may be broken, too. Meanwhile, their dozy father (Albert Finney) starts looking into the case himself, and that leads to a conversation with one son that Eugene O'Neill couldn't have written any better.