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Before the Devil Knows You're Dead Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… giving it everything they've got … Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman


    Read Full Review

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    A superb crime melodrama.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    This is not a drama of shadings, but of ever-increasing intensity.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    One bad idea can unravel and ruin lives in unimaginably horrific ways.That's the concept underlying the riveting Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, a sharply acted and highly entertaining morality play.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Frank Scheck

    Pungently atmospheric, brilliantly textured and featuring superb performances from every performer in parts big and small.

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  • See all Before the Devil Knows You're Dead reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

not for kids

Mature heist film full of violence, explicit sex.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this intense, mature heist film about two adult brothers who conspire to rob their parents -- no one is supposed to get hurt, but things go very awry -- definitely isn't for kids. It's full of loud, bloody, harrowing violence (including a robber exchanging gunfire with an elderly woman) and some pretty explicit sex scenes (thrusting, panting, naked bottoms, visible breasts/nipples). Several scenes show drinking and explicit drug use (cocaine, marijuana, heroin), and there's adultery, cigarette smoking, and plenty of strong language ("f--k," "s--t," and more).

  • Families can talk about the characters' bad/strained family relationships. Why do the brothers resent their father? How do they act out with each other? What role does Gina fulfill for both of the brothers? Do you think relationships like these are realistic? Is it more "entertaining" to see a movie about dysfunctional characters or functional ones? Why?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Characters include thieves, addicts, bullies, and cheaters. Both brothers are insecure, competitive, and violent; their father is distant and cruel; wives are vindictive and resentful. A character's presumed homosexuality is equated with deviance.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: Brutal violence during the central robbery, when a masked thief and the elderly jewelry store owner face off, shooting each other repeatedly (lots of blood, crawling on the ground). Justin, an upscale drug dealer, regularly answers the door with his gun in hand. After she's shot, an old woman appears in a hospital room with tubes and monitors; ultimately, a decision must be made about keeping her on life support. A widower crashes his car into a police cruiser in despair. Father slaps son. Lots of shooting and fighting near the end (panicky gunfire, yelling, blood on walls and bodies).

  • sex false5

    Sex: Repeated sex scenes showing naked breasts, buttocks, and sexual activity. First scene takes place in a mirrored hotel room and shows explicit sex from various angles. Other scenes show an adulterous couple (a man with his brother's wife) and reveal her breasts and his bottom. A couple of scenes show tongue-kissing. Andy undresses (not explicit).

  • language false5

    Language: Language includes frequent uses of "f--k" and "s--t" (a couple with "bull"), and far fewer instances of "ass" (one with "hole"), "hell," "goddamn," and derisive slang ("faggoty" and "prick").

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Brief visual or verbal references to Dell laptop, Tiffany's jewelry.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false5

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Several scenes take place in bars, where characters drink beer and liquor. Frequent cigarette smoking. Some marijuana smoking and cocaine snorting. In a business/potentially kinky sex arrangement, Andy pays a young man to inject him with heroin a couple of times (needles, powder, and spoon visible). Hank appears drunk.