I finally had a chance to catch the excellent Sidney Lumet thriller, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” last night. Seeing as how it’s set in Westchester, I was partly curious to see if there were any local businesses or locations features. No such luck. The strip mall where the film’s central event takes place — a robbery of a mom-and-pop jewelry store — was in no strip mall I’ve ever seen. However, about halfway into the flick, something very familiar did indeed pop up: the good ol’ Journal News.
The Albert Finney character picks up a copy of the paper on his suburban home’s doorstep, and the name is only vaguely visible through the yellow plastic. But then, after his wife is gunned down at the botched heist, that’s when the paper really gets a starring role. Finney finds out who the murderer is in frontpage story in the paper the next day — right above a red LoHud bar on the bottom of A1. What’s more, he begins carrying the paper with him for the rest of the movie.
Not a scene goes by that Finney isn’t fiddling with the paper, his new security blanket. He visits the police station, wielding The Journal News like a billy club; he stares at it blankly at the kitchen table; he even has it sticking out his suit pocket at his wife’s funeral (see the above movie still). And that beautiful LoHud logo is plainly visible every single second. No doubt, it’s the best free product placement our website has ever gotten.
Thanks, Albert — and Sidney! Suburbarazzi hearts you, too.
By the way, the movie was phenomenal. The story of two brothers contriving what they see as a victimless crime, only to discover that everyone is a victim, is brilliant. Philip Seymour Hoffman has the single best room-trashing scenes in cinematic history (I won’t spoil it by explaining why). And his red-faced breakdown, after Finney attempts to atone for being a bad father, is surely worthy of an Academy Award nod. Let’s just hope he brings a copy of the Journal News with him when he’s called up to accept his Oscar.