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Before the Devil Knows You're Dead [2007] [R] - 8.7.10



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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Two brothers (Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke) who are short on money decide that robbing their parents' jewelry store in a suburb of New York may be the perfect crime. However, when the robbery attempt is horribly bungled, their lives begin to unravel. Also with Albert Finney, Marisa Tomei, and Aleksa Palladino. Directed by Sidney Lumet. [1:57]

SEX/NUDITY 8 - A husband and wife have sex: we see the woman bent over on a bed and the man thrusts toward her from behind while looking in a mirror (both are nude and bare breasts and buttocks are visible); they climax and lie in bed talking afterward (his bare chest and her bare breasts are visible).
 A man lies nude on his stomach in a bed (his bare back and buttocks are visible), a woman wearing panties sits on the bed next to him (her bare breasts are visible and part of her buttocks when she stands up) and it is implied that they have had sex.
 A woman lies in bed (her bare breasts are visible) presumably after having tried to have sex with her husband; he puts on a robe and they talk about why they couldn't have sex.
 A husband and wife lie in bed talking, he caresses her breasts (she is wearing a tank top), she sits up (her bare buttock is visible) and they kiss.
 A woman wears low-cut dresses and tops that reveal cleavage in several scenes. A man answers a door wearing only jockey shorts. A man lies in a bed wearing only boxer shorts (we see his bare chest). A man wears a robe that hangs open revealing his bare chest, abdomen and underwear.
 A woman asks a man if she can "interest him in seconds" (meaning sex) and they kiss. A wife confesses to her husband that she is having an affair with his brother.

VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - A man is shot in the head (blood spurts onto sheets). A man is shot in the chest (blood spurts on the wall behind him and he slumps to the floor). A man holds a gun on a man, shoots him in the back (we see blood spurt) and then he is shot in the chest and he falls to the floor.
 A woman shoots a man, he falls to the floor bleeding, he shoots her in the stomach and she falls to the floor bleeding, and she shoots him again and he falls back through a glass door breaking it and lies motionless on the ground (we hear later that he is dead).
 A man is smothered with a pillow: he struggles briefly and then goes limp.
 We hear gunshots, and a man falls back through a glass door and lies still on the sidewalk. We see an unconscious man on a stretcher with blood on the sheet covering him.
 Two men fight over a gun, one is forced to the floor, and the other strikes him in the face several times. A father slaps his son in the face when he asks if he is sure he is his son. A man wearing a mask and carrying a gun threatens a woman in a jewelry store, yells at her, breaks the glass cases with the gun, and steals money and jewels.
 A man is distraught after his wife has been shot and is on life support (we see her on a ventilator). A husband makes the decision to have life support removed from his wife, and we see people gathered and grieving at her funeral.
A man yells and punches the steering wheel of a car as he speeds through a parking lot. A man breaks his cell phone after arguing with someone. A man breaks objects in a house.
 A man and a woman yell at each other in several scenes. A man says, "I should kill you" to another man.

PROFANITY 10 - 76 F-words, 1 sexual reference, 22 scatological terms, 8 anatomical terms, 8 mild obscenities, 4 derogatory terms for homosexuals, name-calling (stupid, loser, freak), 8 religious profanities, 17 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A man snorts cocaine, a man smokes marijuana and we see a large supply of drugs and money in a safe in a few scenes. A man prepares a drug, and injects a man in the arm with it, and a man pours a container of pills into his hand and briefly considers suicide. Two men drink heavily in a bar and people are shown drinking alcohol in several bar scenes. Two men smoke cigarettes and a man smokes a cigarette in several scenes.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Financial desperation, love, marriage, embezzlement, divorce, murder, robbery, blackmail, humiliation, disappointment, child support, regret, being unable to deal with uncomfortable situations, snowball effect of the ramifications of actions, parenting, infidelity.

MESSAGE - Stupid choices lead to disaster.

Special Keywords: S8 - V7 - P10 - MPAAR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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