At 83, Lumet’s Still Got It

sarris beforethedevil2h 0 At 83, Lumets Still Got It

Just Shoot Me! Nihilism Crashes Lumet and Coen Bros.

BY ANDREW SARRIS

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead and No Country for Old Men are well suited to our depressing times. But still!

Two of the darkest death-driven films of the 45th New York Film Festival are both American works directed by filmmakers who, though no strangers to noirish projects in the past, have attained new heights, or is it depths, of malignancy and morbidity, which, I suppose, is fitting for the increasingly dismal and depressing times in which we live. And I am not saying this simply because I am too rapidly approaching my 79th year on this reportedly endangered planet.

Anyway, the two films in question are Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, from a screenplay by Kelly Masterson, and Joel Coen and Ethan Coen’s No Country for Old Men, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy. If I prefer the former to the latter, it is because it is ultimately less nihilistic in tone and spirit, and nihilism has never been my strong suit in the cinema, though I imagine younger cultists of a certain type can never get enough of it. MORE …

Lumet Lights Up

BY REX REED

Sidney Lumet, 83, cements his reputation as a world-class director with Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, a botched-heist thriller with labyrinthine plot twists, suspenseful character revelations and out-of-sequence narrative elements befitting a grand opera mounted on a massive scale. MORE …