Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Crime, Drama
  • 2013
  • 118 mins

Dead Man Down

Dead Man Down


A hitman and a young woman, both scarred by past events and obsessed with revenge, meet and fall in love.


Swedish director Niels Arden Oplev's first Hollywood feature re-unites him with Noomi Rapace, who played Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Revenge thriller mechanics and off-kilter art-house romance make for uneasy bedfellows, as do Rapace's reclusive, facially-scarred Beatrice and Colin Farrell's solitary, socially-awkward criminal. Beatrice lives with her solicitous mother, Valentine (Isabelle Huppert), in the apartment across the street from Victor's, and it is from her balcony that she sees him strangle a man to death. On their tense first date, Beatrice tries to blackmail Victor into killing the drunk driver who crashed into her car and destroyed her life. But Victor too is consumed with revenge, and the dead goon later turns up in the freezer at his gangster boss Alphonse's mansion – the latest cryptic message in a calculated, paranoia-inducing campaign. It's an intriguing and emotionally powerful set-up, especially when we later learn the brutal history behind Victor's patient, obsessive desire for vengeance.

Yet for all the confidence displayed in the first third of J H Wyman's script, it suffers from the same lack of structure and staying power as his last produced movie, The Mexican (2001), which starred Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts. Despite Oplev's meticulous attention to the intricate details of the film's serpentine plot, it is as sluggish as an anaconda after a heavy meal. The only plot element that injects any hint of suspense is Dominic Cooper's portrayal of the ambitious Darcy, whose terrier-like efforts to solve the mystery behind their iced colleague's murder give Victor some anxious moments. The climactic shoot-out is explosive yet unexciting, so as the overwrought storyline grinds towards its predictable end, we are left with a profound sense of what might have been. This is sad, because the unusually tight-lipped Farrell and the ever-watchable Rapace are utterly convincing as a pair of damaged souls groping for a glimmer of hope in a morass of moral darkness.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Isabelle Huppert, Noomi Rapace, Colin Farrell, Terrence Howard, Dominic Cooper
  • Director: Neils Arden Oplev
  • Writer: J H Wyman
  • Producer: Neal Moritz, J H Wyman
  • Photographer: Paul Cameron
  • Composer: Jacob Groth

In a nutshell

A lifeless attempt to fuse a taut crime thriller and a complex psychological drama.

by Nigel Floyd

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    The Salt Of The Earth

    Brazilian documentary about the life of visionary photographer Sebastião Salgado, directed by Wim Wenders and Sebastião's son Juliano Ribeiro Salgado.

    On Film4: 2 Nov 1:00AM

  • Film4


    AnnaLynne McCord stars as a teenager with an unhealthy fascination with gore and surgery.

    On Film4: 29 Oct 11:05PM

  • Film4

    Black Cinema Season on Film4

    To tie-in with the launch of the BFIs Black Star season, Film4 presents a celebration of black filmmaking talent both in front of and behind the camera.

  • Film4

    12 Years A Slave on Film4

    Film4's Black Cinema Season begins with Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    TIFF 2016: Top Ten Editor Michael Leader runs through ten standouts from the Toronto International Film Festival...   The Oath I'd already seen three of the four Film4-backed films screening in Toronto (inc

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Baltasar Kormakur on The Oath

    As his Film4-backed Icelandic thriller The Oath premieres in Toronto, director/writer/actor Baltasar Kormakur speaks with editor Michael Leader about making films in Hollywood, returning to

Register with

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • Up next at 11.20pm, Richard Gere and Debra Winger star in romantic drama An Officer And A Gentleman.

  • RT @Film4: Before you ask... Yep, we're showing Hocus Pocus on Halloween. ✨

  • RT @Film4: #4GreatFilms this week: Wake In Fright (Wed, 11.15pm) Night Of The Creeps (Thu, 2am) Eyes W/O A Face (Sat, 12.40am) Kill List (S…

  • World cinema fans! Our late-night highlight at 1.50am is Cannes prize-winning romance Les Combattants, starring Adè…

  • This Halloween, Film4 becomes #FilmFear: