With a vast body of work ranging from “12 Angry Men” in 1957 to his final film in 2007, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” there’s no doubting that Lumet’s influence on the movies industry was a profound one. After the jump, we’re remembering the dearly departed director by looking back at some of our favorite Lumet pictures.
“12 Angry Men”
Lumet’s adaptation of the beloved teleplay and stage play perfectly captured the increasingly intense and claustrophobic nature of the jury selection and verdict-reaching process, a film that was further enhanced by fantastic performances from acting legends like Henry Fonda, Jack Klugman and more.
Al Pacino has made a name for himself playing some of the most ruthless gangsters in American cinema from Michael Corleone to Tony Montana, but his turn as corruption-busting New York policeman Frank Serpico is no less memorable, thanks in large to the expert directing of the late Lumet.
“Dog Day Afternoon”
Remember what we said about Pacino playing criminals? One of his best explorations of that world — on an acting level, not in terms of the character’s efficiency as a robber — came at the hands of Lumet in “Dog Day Afternoon,” a tragic examination of what a man is willing to put himself through in the thick of deep-seated desperation.
If you ever find yourself mad as hell and unwilling to take it anymore, just pop “Network” into the DVD player and see what happens when you reach the boiling point. As was Lumet’s custom, “Network” ventures deeply into unexplored corners of human depravity, producing an Oscar-winning and timelessly quotable film in the process.
“Before The Devil Knows Your Dead”
Lumet’s final film starred Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke as a pair of brothers who turn on their family and each other out of — you guessed it — greed and desperation. Though it’s not Lumet’s finest work, it’s nonetheless remarkable for showing how sharp the director remained after five decades as a filmmaker.
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