Episode 16 - Sidney Lumet's BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD with Special Guest Director Allan Arkush.
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7 responses to “Fade Out – Sidney Lumet”
Excellent conversation about a great director who I DO think has authorial voice, but is more subtle (and therefore perhaps better) than some of his more showy colleagues. And for once, I’d seen the film!
Great discussion Rob. I don’t really have much to add other than I thoroughly enjoyed it!
If you enjoyed Lumet’s final film, I recommend checking out another 2007 film about brothers who become involved in crime that leads to a tragic end: Cassandra’s Dream starring Ewan McGregor & Colin Farrell. This lesser known Woody Allen drama also features Tom Wilkinson, Sally Hawkins & Hayley Atwell. I saw both in the theater back then & enjoyed them equally.
Made sure to watch the movie before I listened to the show. Great discussion overall, both about directing and about Lumet himself.
This was a tough movie to watch as almost everyone in this movie is pretty flawed. I do think the addition of the main characters being brothers was crucial to the story; kudos to Lumet. I think the nonlinear story-telling works so that you can see crucial scenes from different characters views as the story rolls out. And yes, opening the story with a pretty hard-core sex scene was an odd choice.
As for Lumet himself, obviously Network is sort of my ‘go to’ answer for his best film but the list of his directing is just so impressive. His list from the 70s is like a ‘best of the decade’ list. I will say I was hoping for more talk on Equus, another movie about people in crisis which I think is brilliantly shot.
Thanks again Rob and Allen!
Rob, great episode. I don’t think I’ll ever watch this film, but thanks to you and Allen, I got some enjoyment out of it anyway. And I learned about Sidney Lumet, who made other films I’ve enjoyed.
Rob, perhaps your greatest skill as an interviewer and host is that you get these amazing people and then simply let them run. I found myself listening to Allen go down a rabbit trail and hoping you’d let him play it out. You always did, probably because you were enjoying it as much as I was. Of course, your research and insight are pretty good, too. Anyway, thank you both.
Rob, I agree that there is something so incredibly special about 12 Angry Men that everything else in Lumet’s filmography seems to spring from it or is informed by it in some way. I teach it to my ninth-grade English classes, and they are all without fail completely galvanized by it, despite my tongue-in-cheek description of the film:
Me: Guys, we’re going to study a film, but it takes place in one room and all that happens is that twelve old white guys scream at each other for two hours.
Me: Oh, and it’s in black-n-white.
Students: *DOUBLE GROAN*
Also, I appreciate Mr. Arkush’s assessment that Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead is not a film by an old man. When I first saw it, I was floored by how modern and energized it felt, especially since by that point I was well aware of how long Lumet had been making films. This film was a fitting end to Lumet’s remarkable career as it holds up so well against his other work.
Of course, good quality was a hallmark of a Sidney Lumet film throughout his career. I haven’t liked all of his films, but I have always found something to appreciate and admire in every one that I have seen.
Another great episode, Rob. Thank you.