Dead Man Down


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Dead Man Down

Directed by: Niels Arden Oplev
Script By: J.H.Wyman
Cast: Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Dominic Cooper, Terrence Howard

I have to admit I had trouble understanding the title. After the film ended I still didn’t get it. But then again, after the film ended, I didn’t really get the film either. What we seem to have here is a revenge thriller that aspires to be more than your average revenge thriller. Unfortunately the film never jells into anything but a big moody shoot’um up with one of the most convoluted plots I’ve seen in years.

Does that mean I hated the film? No, I didn’t, and I’ll tell you why in one name, Colin Farrell. I first became aware of Mr. Farrell in Steven Spielberg’s film “Minority Report”. Thought his performance in that film was terrific and I was looking forward to seeing more work from him. It wasn’t forthcoming; he drifted into mediocre roles that he appeared to be just walking through and aside from his wonderfully strange turn last year as one of the “Horrible Bosses” he just wasn’t worth my time to watch. Now up he pops in DEAD MAN DOWN, and his performance makes the film work for me. Subdued, believable, haunting, and vulnerable, his Victor is a tortured shell of a person trying to make sense of his life through revenge. It’s everything I always thought he could pull off as an actor and more.

Here’s The Storyline:

Victor (Farrell), appears to be a rising gangland hood, he has infiltrated the crime empire run by ruthless kingpin Alphonse (Howard), with the sole purpose of making him pay for destroying his wife and daughter. As he meticulously orchestrates his vengeance from his high-rise apartment, he watches and is watched by Beatrice (Rapace), a disfigured young woman who lives in the apartment across from his. When she uncovers Victor’s dark secrets from afar, she threatens to expose him unless he helps her carry out her own retribution. Together, they begin to carry out their intricate plans, but the odds are stacked against them.

Danish director Niels Arden Oplev, who created the original “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, makes his American theatrical debut with this film. That debut is the problem here; his wonderful Scandinavian sensibility does not work in his favor inside a big American Film. Had this movie been made away from the Hollywood machine, say in Europe for instance, it would have been better, easier to believe, less confusing. Along with Oplev on this journey is the brilliant Swedish actress Noomi Rapace he used in “Dragon”. Usually a sure performance, this time she lacks the story and character to let her talent fly. Hard to believe that Farrell is able to upstage her at every turn, but there it is.

The film is a strange brew of violent vengeance and deep felt heartache, located in a place where death is constantly at hand and love is a hard commodity to come by. Wait for the DVD.

Rated R for violence, language throughout and a scene of sexuality – 110 minutes

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