BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE
A Screenplay By
EXT. - FAIRFIELD ROAD - DAY
A white HONDA ACCORD moves through a sleepy, suburban
neighborhood - FAIRFIELD, CT - in the early winter morning.
Snow covers the ground but the plows have been out and the
road is clear. The sun is shining and the neighborhood
glistens: white, bright, quiet.
The ACCORD turns onto the main drag and merges into the early
morning commuter traffic. The ACCORD swings around the
traffic that lines the turn lane into the FAIRFIELD TRAIN
STATION. We stay with the ACCORD as it moves along until it
reaches a STRIP MALL and pulls in. The ACCORD moves through
the nearly empty parking lot and pulls up to the curb in
front of one shop in the MALL.
EXT. - STRIP MALL - DAY
In the car’s interior, a woman (NANETTE) of about 65 leans
across and kisses her husband (CHARLES) who sits behind the
wheel. She pats him on the knee.
CHARLES chuckles as NANETTE fishes a fistful of keys out of
her purse. She opens the door.
See ya in a bit.
I love you.
CHARLES looks a little surprised by this. He smiles as
NANETTE exits the ACCORD. CHARLES watches his wife approach
the store and unlock the door.
ON STORE SIGN: “HANSON JEWELERS”
INT. - HANSON JEWELERS - DAY
NANETTE opens the door and we hear a bell ring. NANETTE from
just inside the door watches the ACCORD pull away and waves.
NANETTE locks the door behind her and moves quickly to an
electrical box on the wall to shut off the alarms and turn on
TITLE CARD: “BEFORE”
BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD - 2.
NANETTE busies herself behind the store counter - stowing
away her purse, checking the cash register, unlocking this or
that display case. She hums as she moves into a back room
and addresses herself to the safe.
NANETTE fills the display cases from the storage trays. A
clock on the wall behind the counter shows that it is 7:58.
NANETTE completes her tasks and moves back to the front door.
Through the window, NANETTE sees a brand new, white CAR
parked in the lot directly in front of the store. She peers
through the door at the car - it appears there are two men in
the front seat. NANETTE turns the sign on the door around
announcing that HANSON JEWELLERS is now officially “OPEN.”
She unlocks the door and moves back to the counter. Her back
is still to the door when she hears the bell ring.
NANETTE, behind the counter, turns towards the front of the
store. Her face - which says: “Good Morning, Customer” freezes in alarm.
Against the wall. Don’t touch anything just back up.
A MAN in a ski mask stands in front of the door - he wears a
large ski parka and gloves. One gloved hand holds a
revolver. The MAN quickly locks the front door and flips the
sign to read “CLOSED.”
Back up - now!
ON NANETTE as she backs up against the wall. She begins to
shake. Her eyes dart from the MAN to a buzzer under the
MAN (O.S.) (CONT’D)
Don’t even think it. Stay right where
WIDER as the MAN moves towards frightened NANETTE.
Shutup. Just shutup. No talking.
listening. Just listen.
BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD - 3.
The MAN approaches NANETTE who tries to move back but she is
against the wall. The MAN puts the gun in her face.
I will shoot you. I don’t wanna but I’ll
do it. I’ll do it.
NO TALKING! OK?
NANETTE blinks, swallows, nods her head very quickly.
OK, OK. Keys. Just point. Point to
where the keys are for these things.
The MAN sweeps his arm in an arc to indicate the display
cases. NANETTE points to a drawer under the Cash Register.
Keeping the gun trained on NANETTE, the MAN moves to and
pulls open the drawer. He fishes out NANETTE’S keys and
holds them out.
NANETTE is frozen.
She can’t move.
Come on - now!
NANETTE moves to him but slowly.
Come on, come on. OK - take these and
find me the key that opens this one.
She reaches for the keys, takes them but immediately drops
them because she is shaking. When NANETTE begins to bend
over to get the keys, the MAN grabs her arm with his free
hand and roughly pulls her upright.
NANETTE whimpers. The MAN hurriedly, reaches down for the
keys. When he is off balance, NANETTE strikes out in fear pushing him. The MAN topples to the floor. Frantically,
NANETTE reaches to the open drawer. As the MAN rights
himself, his first concern is the keys on the floor rather
than the frail woman above him.
BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD - 4.
NANETTE has the gun out of the drawer before the MAN even
realizes what she is doing. She brings it around to the MAN
who now drops the keys and raises his own gun. There are two
ON NANETTE as she is hit and flies backwards.
ON THE MAN as he is spun around to his right. He loses his
gun. He struggles to regain himself - his left hand comes up
to his right shoulder. He pulls it away to look at his blood
Oh shit. Oh shit, shit.
The MAN, now as frightened as NANETTE, has to physically
force himself to concentrate through the fear. He comes
around - he looks for his gun. He sees it on the floor some
10 yards away and scoots - crablike - along the floor to
retrieve it. He is surprised that his right arm will not
cooperate. He picks up the gun in his left hand and rises,
unsteadily. He looks around for NANETTE and does not see her
until he moves out from behind the counter and finds her
lying on the floor some 10 yards away from the counter. She
is crumpled on her left side - inexplicably she still
clenches the gun in her right hand. She does not move.
I’m fucked! Oh shit.
He physically forces himself back into the moment. He
concentrates. He looks at the display cases. He looks at
the keys. He looks at the still woman on the floor. He
makes a decision. He moves to the display case nearest him
and shoots it. The glass top of the case shatters - glass
flying everywhere - the man shields his face with his good
arm. Alarms - shrill, piercing, insistent - begin to sound.
The MAN does not hear them. He sets the gun in top of the
shattered case. He pulls a nylon bag out of his parka. With
his one good arm - he awkwardly begins scooping various
“pieces” into the bag - it is clumsy work.
A shot rings out. The MAN’s eyes go wide with alarm and
surprise. He has been shot in the back but isn’t at all sure
what has happened. Confused, he tries once again to load the
ON NANETTE who struggles to rise but cannot. She struggles
to bring the gun up again but cannot. She loses
ON THE MAN who stumbles. Losing his balance, he bounces off
the counter and crumples to the floor.
BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD - 5.
We see a wide, spreading patch of blood on his back. He
miraculously manages to pull himself to his feet by using the
counter. Disoriented, weak, confused, he remembers the bag.
He manages to get it into his good hand. He reaches for the
gun but succeeds only in knocking it to the floor. He leaves
it. He moves towards the door, staggering a little. He
struggles to open the locked door - he can’t think. Why
won’t the door open? Finally, he manages to unlock and push
open the door but drops the bag. When he reaches for the
bag, he collapses - he falls through the open door onto the
EXT. - STRIP MALL - DAY
The CAR waits at the curb. The DRIVER is alarmed, anxious,
scared to death, uncertain as he watches the MAN on the
sidewalk struggle to rise only to collapse again and remain
still, unmoving, dead?
The DRIVER guns the car and pulls away.
EXT. - FAIRFIELD ROAD - DAY
ON THE DRIVER - crazy with fear, hyperventilating.
Slow down, slow down. Jesus. God. Stop
it - OK - slow down. Slow down. Oh
Jesus. Oh my God.
The DRIVER repeats “Oh my God” like a mantra to calm himself.
Over and over and over, he says it until his breathing
returns to normal and his powers of thought return.
The DRIVER reaches up and pulls off his wig and places it on
the seat next to him. He rips off his fake mustache and then
his big glasses. The man is in his mid-thirties - hair just
starting to thin. This is HANK.
TITLE CARD: “HANK”
EXT. - MEADOWLANDS STADIUM - DAY
A football game is in progress. In the stands we find HANK
wearing heavy winter clothes and a frown. He is unhappy with
the game. Seated next to him is his 13 year old daughter,
DANIELE: bored and distracted. On HANK’s other side is a man
in his mid-thirties - this is ANDY.
God damn motherfuckers.
BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD - 6.
You shouldn’t talk like that.
A VENDOR moves up the steps towards HANK and Co., shouting:
They can’t complete even one pass!
A Cell Phone rings.
HANK searches his parka for the phone.
Can I have a hot dog?
You’ve already had one.
Can I have another one?
DANIELE signals to the Vendor.
With everything, please.
Yea, I know, I know - I’m sittin’ right
HANK is digging in his pants for his wallet.
I’m watching the god damn game!
The VENDOR hands DANIELE her hot dog. HANK struggles with
his wallet and the phone. ANDY produces a Five - he examines
BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD - 7.
ANDY hands the bill to the vendor who makes change.
Yea - hold on.
(to ANDY, sheepish:)
Thank you, Mr. Hanson.
You’re welcome, sweetheart.
DANIELE begins wolfing down her hot dog.
Yea, yea - I’m good. You know I’m good.
My mom doesn’t like me eating junk.
You can eat whatever you want when you’re
ANDY returns his attention to the game. DANIELE is happy
now, content - concentrating on her dog and ignoring the game
and her father.
I said I’m good. Jesus.
HANK hangs up and stows the phone.
embarrassed. ANDY looks amused.
He looks at ANDY -
I miss anything?
Can I get a coke?
BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD - 8.
(watching the field)
INT. - NEW YORK APARTMENT - DAY
Upper East Side two bedroom apartment - nice but not
outrageous; rent is a bundle but the decoration is clearly
middle-class. A woman in her mid-thirties with too much
makeup sits on the couch, a Magazine in her lap. This is
TINA. HANK stands in the center of the living room as
DANIELE hangs her coat up in a closet.
She didn’t eat any junk food, did she?
You didn’t feed her crap, did you?
Of course not.
DANIELE winks at her Daddy and disappears down a hallway.
HANK has to hold back his laugh.
She’s got an audition tomorrow.
can’t be bloated.
Or have gas.
Gas is bad.
She wore her sun block?
It was cloudy.
There’s rays. There’s still rays.
Or wind. People get wind burns.
She has to be blemish free tomorrow.
BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD - 9.
INT. - CORRIDOR - APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY
HANK presses the elevator button.
TINA, arms crossed, is
You got my money?
You owe me November, December and now
I don’t owe you.
I owe Daniele.
Don’t get semantic.
Don’t get huffy.
HANK jabs at the elevator button a few times.
I took her to the Giants game.
Cash, Hank. She needs two caps.
The Elevator arrives.
I’ll get her a Giant’s cap.
Don’t be cute.
If you’d let her eat junk food, her teeth
would be fine.
HANK gets on the Elevator and pushes the “L” button.
November, December, January...
The Elevator doors close and TINA is gone. HANK, frustrated
and angry, mouths “November, December, January.” He kicks
BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD - 10.
INT. - OFF TRACK BETTING (OTB) CLUB - DUSK
HANK, tickets in hand, watches the TV screen above as a horse
race finishes. His face falls and he lets out a stream of
disgusted air. He rips up his tickets and drops them to the
floor. He looks beseechingly at the screen but finds no
comfort. He shakes his head and rises.
INT. - MOONEY’S PUB - NIGHT
Dark, noisy, Sunday evening crowded, NY Irish Pub. Near the
door, HANK is shouting into a telephone to be heard over the
Thursday! Wednesday is pay day so...
Yea, of course. You know me.
...Thursday, I swear. OK, OK...
HANK hangs up the phone and rolls his eyes. He rubs his face
and rearranges his features - no fear, no anger, no
frustration. Blank. Now he heads towards the back of the
pub. He approaches a booth where ANDY is seated, a pitcher
of beer in front of him. Two mugs. ANDY doodles on a
napkin. HANK takes a seat.
How much you lose today?
When we were in college, you never
Yea, well...fuck it.
And you never swore.
I’m an adult now.
HANK grins. ANDY smiles and shakes his head. ANDY turns the
napkin around and pushes it over to HANK. HANK picks it up
and looks at it.
What the fuck is it?
BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD - 11.
Don’t look like any diaphragm I ever
HANK smiles at ANDY who does not return the smile.
What’s it a diagram of?
INT. - PUB BATHROOM - NIGHT
HANK stands at sink and stares at himself in the mirror - a
It’s worth 100 Grand. It’s insured so
they lose nothing. I lay it off at maybe
50 cents on the dollar. 25,000 each,
give or take.
HANK fills his cupped hands with water and splashes his face.
He looks in the mirror - dripping. A wet loser.
INT. - MOONEY’S - NIGHT
HANK sits in the booth opposite ANDY who pours out from a
fresh pitcher - an empty pitcher sits on the table.
So tell me - can you use 25,000?
HANK sighs and nods once.
I’ve...I’ve never committed a crime.
Nobody gets hurt.
HANK looks unconvinced.
Every time you make a bet with your
bookie, you’re committing a crime. Who’s
BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD - 12.
HANK leans back and blows out air.
You’re an adult now.
ANDY drinks and watches him with cold eyes.
I don’t know. Lemme think about it.
INT. - WORKPLACE - DAY
HANK, dressed in suit and tie, comes out of his office
pulling on an overcoat. He looks anxious. He passes a
receptionist desk heading for the elevator.
Got an appointment.
Back in a couple.
The RECEPTIONIST smiles and nods.
Of course you do - it’s Monday.
INT. - APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY
HANK enters a somewhat run-down building, passing through a
security door and heading up the stairs.
On the third floor landing, he encounters a woman sitting on
the steps hugging herself inside her big coat. She is about
thirty - very thin. She is GINA. She looks at HANK from
under her big floppy hat.
HANK fishes out his keys as GINA crumbles up some candy
wrappers that sit on the landing next to her. These she
stuffs in her pocket as HANK opens the do