Before the Devil Knows You're Dead: In Sidney Lumet's thrilling tragic masterpiece, two brothers (Ethan Hawke, Philip Seymour Hoffman) plot a woefully misguided robbery. Hoffman is terrifically venal as the more amoral of these hell-bound sibs, while Hawke employs his trademark soulfulness to suggest an emasculated weakness.
- MARC SAVLOV
Lars and the Real Girl: Ryan Gosling displays his exacting commitment to characterization as a socially stunted man who shocks his small Minnesota town by establishing a chaste relationship with a wheelchair-bound sex doll. The high-concept premise would be easy to dismiss were the film not so flawlessly executed.
- MARJORIE BAUMGARTEN