Essential Philip Seymour Hoffman performances
Andy Hanson in 'Before the Devil Knows You're Dead'
If Ethan Hawke is the "hero" of Sidney Lumet's brooding crime thriller, Philip Seymour Hoffman is probably the villain, even if it's a very human weakness that leads him down the dark path that the movie takes. Hoffman's Andy is increasingly unhinged and dangerous as the film progresses, but he never lets you forget the insecurity and self-hate that are motivating him. There's a tightly coiled intensity that Hoffman exhibits in his early scenes that are just physical prelude for when everything unravels as the story goes along. The heavy acting in this scene seems to be coming from Ethan Hawke, but it's Hoffman's fist and the vein on this forehead and the threat in his voice that steal this scene. Hoffman was always relatable and human, but he was a great villain when he got the chance. He's even super in that third "Mission: Impossible" film.
- Daniel Fienberg