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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Colin Farrell
Noomi Rapace
Dominic Cooper
Terrence Howard
.
Directors
Niels Arden Oplev.
Screenwriters
J.H. Wyman.
Running Time
118 minutes

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Dead Man Down
Bad title, good cast


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Plot
Victor (Farrell) has infiltrated a gang led by Alphonse (Howard), intent on avenging the deaths of his family. Beatrice (Rapace), Victor’s neighbour, tries to blackmail him into targeting a drunk driver who caused an accident which disfigured her.


Review
Dead Man Down
A New York-set thriller with an interesting, international cast, this opens with a feint that suggests it’s going to be a version of The Long Good Friday, as a cool criminal who tries to conduct himself like a businessman finds a dead minion in his freezer and is rattled by an ongoing campaign of persecution which is rocking his mini-empire.

Terrence Howard is great as the Bob Hoskins figure, sleazily well-dressed and descending to hysterical cruelty, relying only on the lieutenant who saves his life in a shoot-out. Then the viewpoint shifts to Colin Farrell’s efficient gangland enforcer, who has more than enough secrets of his own to cover up, but still takes time to have a first date with the girl in the flat opposite. She looks pretty from across a courtyard but turns out to be scarred (inside and out) and have her own maniac agenda, which complicates his own and makes him question where his plan is leading.

This is the first English-language work from Danish director Niels Arden Oplev, who made an international impact with the Swedish version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo; he brings along Noomi Rapace, the original Lisbeth Salander, and gives her a much better role than she has had in bigger English-language films like Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows and Prometheus, even if there’s a sense lurking in the background that J. H. Wyman’s complex script might play even better if rewritten so Rapace and Farrell could switch roles. However, Farrell, as reliably good in medium-budget quirky crime as he is reliably flat in anything more expensive, does wounded noir sensitivity with a side-order of righteous fury very well, as if fusing Montgomery Clift with Lee Marvin. Rapace starts with focused dementia (the canny make-up scars her without making her less sexy) and blossoms in an affecting manner, which shows (as did the Norwegian ghost/psycho story Babycall) that she can be great outside her signature Lisbeth role.


Verdict
A pleasingly intricate double (or is it triple?) revenge plot anchored by excellent acting, with a terrific burst of action at the climax.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Dead Man Down
Empire Star Rating

This is not a review

I am not here to comment on a film that I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed. Instead I have to comment on the appalling review that has been written for this film. Mr Newman (a man that most of us have great great respect and time for) has spent most of this review just showing off his background knowledge rather than reviewing the film. It comes across as overly dismissive and unduly critical of both actors in such a way that it gives little insight into the film. His comparisons to the fi... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by AIR1980 at 02:54, 13 October 2013 | Report This Post


Dead Man Down

http://filmfanboy.com/dead-man-down/ Niels Arden Oplev”s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a terrific thriller primarily because the central characters were compelling and the resolution was deeply satisfying. Unfortunately his follow-up featuring Tattoo’s Noomi Repace and Colin Farrell is devoid of most of the things that made Tattoo so memorable. Like so many foreign Directors who make the leap to American filmmaking the Swedish director stumbles. Most of the fault lies in the... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Conboy at 14:53, 08 June 2013 | Report This Post


I thought it was fine. Nothing particularly spectacular, but the script, acting and action was all good, and it's less generic than the trailer suggests. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Whistler at 11:03, 09 May 2013 | Report This Post


Unusual thriller

Enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. A revenge thriller and a tiny bit of a love story and it does work. Takes a little while to settle into it but once it hits it's stride it is pretty good I have to say. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bretty at 23:48, 05 May 2013 | Report This Post


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