"May you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you're dead."
It comes from an Irish toast, that quote, and it's also the first thing we see as director Sidney Lumet begins his latest film, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. It's open for interpretation, in the way that it's used here, however Lumet chose to follow up the quote with a graphic opening shot of a barenaked Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) on his knees, and a naked Gina (Marisa Tomei) bent over on all fours in front of him. They're having sex. Some of the best sex they've had in years. If only life was always like this for Andy and Gina; unfortunately, it's not. This is vacation sex for a married couple -- away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, where the most important decision of the day revolves around which swanky restaurant to eat dinner at. They're in Brazil; Rio to be exact. And this is heaven. Both enjoy their brief, passionate encounter -- and discuss how great it would be to move to Rio and live out their days on a beach -- but then, eventually, return home to New York City ... where all hell breaks loose.
See, Andy is having money problems. He's got a great job, sure -- as head of payroll for a real estate firm -- and lots of cash to boot, but he's a sneaky crook with an expensive drug habit. Money-wise, his younger brother Hank (Ethan Hawke) is in a similar situation. He's a few months behind on child support payments to his ex-wife, and as much as he loves his daughter -- and would do anything to provide for her -- his drinking problem, a lack of motivation and the fact that he's sleeping with his brother's wife isn't helping put money in the bank. As more and more funds disappear, and as both brothers are forced into a corner they're not sure how to escape from, Andy comes up with a full-proof plan to fill their pockets: rob a Mom & Pop jewelry store. Except, there's one problem -- that Mom & Pop jewelry store is owned and operated by -- you guessed it -- Andy and Hank's own mom and pop.