Hoffman has a gift for disappearing into a role. A while back I watched Capote, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Savages, and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead practically back to back and by the end of The Devil Knows You’re Dead you could have convinced me that those movies had starred four different actors. Here, Hoffman disappears into the part by not disappearing. He makes Zara into a guy who happens to look, talk, and shamble about like Philip Seymour Hoffman, which is just to say a smart, practical minded, hardworking middle-aged pro with a justified confidence in own talents but without much pretense or vanity. Here, we think, is somebody who is what he appears to be. Then, in one of Hoffman’s best scenes, Zara delivers a speech on loyalty that is so self-flattering and self-serving that we thrown back in our seats. Damn, we think, another one who’s too good to be true.
---from my October 2011 review of The Ides of March, Watching Souls Curdle.