“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”(***)
Directed by Sidney Lumet
This fall is going to feel more and more like the seventies as we are getting new films from a trio of great directors of that golden era in American cinema: Francis Ford Coppola, Sidney Lumet and Brian De Palma. We’ll also see a brilliant new documentary from Jonathan Demme about the U.S. President who closed out the seventies under heavy criticism for a hostage crisis situation he could not resolve. The Coppola film, “Youth Without Youth,” is not in Toronto, but I am anxiously awaiting a press screening as it is Coppola’s first work in ten years as a director.
Sidney Lumet has been far more active but often with mixed results. The last truly great film he made was “The Verdict” in 1982, though in the fifteen years between he has certainly made some interesting films. His greatest works were in the 70s when he directed such films as “Serpico,” “Murder on the Orient Express,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “Network,” “Equus” and into the 80s with “Prince of the City,” “The Verdict” and the criminally under-appreciated “Daniel.”