CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Crime, Drama
  • 2013
  • 118 mins

Dead Man Down

Dead Man Down

Synopsis

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

About

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: Dominic Cooper, Noomi Rapace, Terrence Howard, Isabelle Huppert, Colin Farrell
  • 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 Wish I Was Here

    Wish I Was Here

    Zach Braff writes, directs and stars in his belated second feature about a man who begins to re-examine the relationships in his life after his father falls ill

  • Film4 A Walk Among The Tombstones

    A Walk Among the Tombstones

    Ex-New York cop turned unlicensed private detective Matt Scudder (Liam Neeson) hunts down two ruthless kidnappers, who target the wives of mid-level drug dealers with ready cash

  • Film4 Neighbouring Sounds

    Neighbouring Sounds on Film4

    Life in a middle-class Brazilian neighbourhood changes upon the arrival of an independent private security firm in Kleber Mendonca Fliho's assured debut on Film4

  • Film4 Ferris Bueller's Day Off

    Wheels In Motion Season On Film4

    It's a parade of motorcycles, trains and automobiles on Film4 as the Wheels In Motion Season gets rolling

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Joe Cunningham's 10 recommendations for LFF 14

    Unfortunately I haven¿t been jet setting around the world this year to the various exciting international film festivals, but that¿s what makes the London Film Festival¿s compilation approach to progr

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Michael Leader's 11 recommendations for LFF 2014

    One of the best things about the London Film Festival¿s smorgasbord approach to programming is that, amongst the world premieres and gala screenings, there¿s an eclectic collection of exciting films o

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • At 11.55pm, we're screening @PaddyConsidine's directorial debut Tyrannosaur, starring Peter Mullan & Olivia Colman. http://t.co/guSyLeu9c0

  • "What is it in us that seeks the truth? Is it our minds or is it our hearts?" Up next at 9pm, Matthew McConaughey stars in A Time To Kill.

  • In an hour at 9pm, Matthew McConaughey and Samuel L Jackson lead an all-star cast in Joel Schumacher's legal thriller A Time To Kill.

  • RT @Tim_Burgess: Tonight at 11.55pm on @film4. Tyrannosaur. Written & directed by @PaddyConsidine http://t.co/zjvW1ttMSr http://t.co/b4rS6G…

  • "Gentlemen, trials are too important to be left up to juries." At 6.20pm, Gene Hackman, John Cusack & Dustin Hoffman star in Runaway Jury.

Share