Brothers Not Working It Out


A brutal crime tears a family apart as loyalty amongst brothers is put to a dire test. The Devil You Know vacillates between strained melodrama and a powerfully affecting morality play. A good ensemble cast carries the narrative through pacing issues. The lulls of the first two acts are forgiven by several whopper twists in a hard-hitting climax.

Omar Epps stars as Marcus Cowans, an ex-con and recovering addict with a new lease on life. He looks forward to starting a job as a bus driver in Los Angeles. His dedicated parents and three brothers have a family dinner to celebrate. They invite Eva (Erica Tazel), an attractive nurse, as a possible set-up. Sparks indeed fly to the delight of the close-knit clan.


A horrific home invasion shook the city the previous night. Marcus drives his drunken younger brother, Drew (William Catlett), home after the dinner. He notices something extremely valuable on Drew’s coffee table. Months later, Marcus and Eva are a committed couple. Marcus is stunned by a news update. A surviving victim laments his murdered father’s stolen collectibles; which Marcus instantly recognizes. He confronts Drew. Who swears he had nothing to do with the incident. Marcus begins to doubt Drew’s story after a determined cop (Michael Ealy) interrupts another family gathering.

Am I my brother’s keeper? This is the age-old question that torments Marcus. He had been an abject failure. Putting his beloved parents and brothers through years of grief. They unequivocally supported him in the darkness. How far will he go to protect Drew and the rest of the family? Does the truth even matter if it endangers everyone you hold dear?

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Character Exposition in The Devil You Know

Director/writer Charles Murray, known for episodes of Luke Cage and Sons of Anarchy, spends an inordinate amount of time with character exposition. The first act drags considerably as we see the brothers banter about and discussing Marcus’ burgeoning romance. Murray overstates his goal of establishing their bonds. He smartly lights a fuse to kickstart the plot. Marcus and Drew find themselves switching familial roles. Drew becomes the black sheep embroiled in an untenable situation.

William Catlett steals the show as Drew. The Devil You Know lays much of the drama on thick. But absolutely gets it right with his critical supporting character. Desperation forces a man into poor choices. Drew lies about his well-being. He can’t admit to being dumped, unemployed, and broke. A different side of his personality becomes apparent to an alarmed Marcus. They both have the family as their primary concern. Then take drastically different measures to protect their parents and brothers.

The Devil You Know goes to unexpected places. Charles Murray pours gasoline on a third act fire. It’s a sensational turn that grabs your attention and adrenalizes the film. Murray should have spread the juice more evenly throughout. The film takes a while to find its footing. But ends on a high note as the frazzled characters reach a breaking point.

The Devil You Know is a production of Command, Tetrad Studios, and BondIt Media Capital. It will have an April 1st theatrical release from Lionsgate.

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