At 83, director Lumet shows he still has crime chops in this grubby tragedy about a botched heist. Calculating, fleshy Andy (Hoffman) has a drug problem and a trophy wife, Gina (Tomei), while his sad-sack, skinny baby bro Hank (Hawke), who happens to be hitting the sheets with Gina, needs cash for his shrewish ex (Ryan). Andy plans a heist on their family's jewelry store but Hank manages to screw it up and things just get more complicated. Good performances by all concerned.
The director of "The Pawnbroker," "The Hill" and "The Verdict" is capable of much better than this. While technically impressive (if a bit obvious), it takes us close to a group of unrelentingly contemptible mediocrities without any suggestion of why. Neither pathological study nor morality play, it simply dwells on the lowness of life and drags us down with it.