The younger brother is Hank (Ethan Hawke) whose problems are quite obvious to see right the surface with his icy relationship with his ex-wife as well as the way she constantly bothers him about child support payments, which he clearly cannot afford. In the early scenes it appears as though Hank is the screw up brother and Andy is the successful one with his apparently high paying job and trophy wife. Hoffman supports this with his performance in his early scenes with Hawke as he seems so stable and confidant compared to Hawke's Hank who wears his troubles on his sleeve. This even continues though when Andy first tells Hank about the idea to solve all of Hank's fiduciary troubles. Hoffman carries himself with a cool confidence, or at least it seems that way compared to Hank. Hoffman even builds up Andy a bit as seemingly a bit of a mastermind as he tells Hank about the jewelery robbery as though he's this career criminal who knows exactly what he's doing. Well it certainly seems this way and Hoffman makes it wholly believable that he would get Hank to go along with his odd plan.
There is more to Hank and Andy in these scenes then just the contrast in terms of their current mental states. Hoffman and Hawke are absolutely terrific in the chemistry they strike up in these scenes, even though the two technically are focused on the plan. What the two do so well is create the unsaid relationship with the brothers. They are not excessively warm together, nor is there a constant tension or anything like that either. There's nothing that simple about their relationship and that is what makes it so special. There is a bit of that old brother supportive quality that Hoffman brings even if it is not genuine per se, Hoffman just has that certain look he gives Hawke that an older brother gives to his kid brother, that's developed over their childhood. On top of that though I just like the casual quality in the way they speak to each other. Their ease, even when discussing serious matters, feels honest to brothers. I particularly love when Andy forces Hank to agree to the plan with his hands in the air to ensure he's not crossing his fingers, and in the way Hoffman asks it feels as though his scheme is just a childhood prank.
Of course it's not a prank although it seems so easy according to Andy who does seem so sure, except perhaps a brief moment where he says it needs to be soon. Hoffman does not let it out too much, as Andy would not want to do in front of Hank, but his own palatable insecurity is felt in the moment. There is far more to that though as we are given Andy's perspective leading up to the robbery. We have his home life with his wife (Marisa Tomei) where Hoffman keeps Andy's style as the successful businessman, but there's a hollowness in his interactions with her. Hoffman shows that he acts as he should, but it just never feels real. When he is alone there is something real though as Hoffman brings such terrible unease to Andy as he is in work, and hears about a company audit. This will uncover his embezzlement that he's been using for heroine, an element in this film that is even sadder in hindsight. Hoffman is harrowing in these scenes as he portrays Andy at his most honest. There is such a remarkable vulnerability as he reveals how sensitive the man truly is, but can only reveal himself to his uncaring drug dealer, since the dealer already knows him.
Well as shown in the very first scene of the film the robbery goes as wrong for the brothers as the robbery possibly could go since it results in neither of them getting the money as well as their mother being killed by the thug used by Hank to handle the robbery. Hoffman is heartbreaking as he shows just how torn Andy is over the guilt in causing his own mother's death, but again Hoffman only reveals this when Andy is alone. The death also forces Andy to face his relationship with his father (Albert Finney). Hoffman is very interesting as he brings a slightly different manner as Andy interacts with his father. He's brow beaten and meek as he speaks to him, with an official tone effectively alluding to the distant relationship. When his father apologizes for his treatment in the past this leads to Andy's only emotional breakdown in front of his wife. It's a fantastic scene for Hoffman as he only let's out so much yet so intensely as he suggest that his relationship with his father is one thing that he can't hide. Hoffman portrays the leak of emotion as especially powerful since Andy's always been trying to hold it in.
The botched robbery not only fails to fix Andy's problems but only creates more of them leaving Andy slowly growing worse. There is one great moment where Andy's wife reveals she's been having an affair, and Hoffman is downright brilliant. He does not breakdown, even after she tells him that it's Hank. This might seem an odd reaction in Hoffman's performance but it's not. Instead he plays it as letting one more problem seep underneath Andy's skin, as he still tries to maintain his position as the respectable man he has to be. It's all too much though and Hoffman is outstanding in the way he has Andy being ripped apart from within. In his eyes one can see every wear from his life, as Hoffman shows that Andy's calm facade is about to break. When it does finally break, in a final sequence where Andy takes insane measure to try to fix every problem, Hoffman is amazing. It's disconcerting as Hoffman portrays how Andy's over the edge now as he's completely overwhelmed to the point of madness. Hoffman earns this in how well he built to this but as well in the moment as Hoffman presents Andy as a mess. Hoffman is chilling though by creating such a danger in the violent emotions as Andy's plan involves several murders. Everything in Hoffman's performance reflects Andy's state as he stumbles around in a rage, and even the way he shoots the people carries such desperation. Hoffman is heartbreaking as he realizes a man falling apart. His rampage is finally put to a stop leaving in the hospital and one last scene with his father. Hoffman is surprisingly moving as he finally has Andy genuinely opening himself up to someone in his family, revealing the vulnerability that was always there, and the sad little man he had always been.