It's probably not a good sign that every theme evoked by Before the Devil Knows You're Dead reminded me of another, better work.
And, no, I'm not even thinking about No Country For Old Men here. Devil does have the misfortune of following the Coens's work, though, if for no other reason than those who who like nihilistic movies about venal murderers may have already had their fill.
What I am thinking about is how The Sopranos presented characters who were too enmeshed in evil to get out but not yet so far enmeshed that they ceased to feel pain for their own acts or hope that there still might be a way out.
What I am thinking about is how Hank's (Ethan Hawke) daughter performs the final speech from King Lear at a school assembly to key audiences into the fact that latent family conflicts might have as much to do with the violence that ensues as the sons' need of money.
What I am thinking about is how Pulp Fiction used the fractured, non-chronological narrative to make the audience rethink the meaning of what it had already seen instead of just evoking a sense of inevitable fatalism.
What I am thinking about is how Charles Hanson's (Albert Finney) walk off into the sunse..er, fluorescent lighting simultaneously managed to evoke both the end of Million Dollar Baby and the beginning of just about every episode of Six Feet Under.
It wasn't horrible. The acting was good. It all just seemed a little too familiar.