“Dead Man Down” - Review
“Dead Man Down” is an European style crafted film with a deliberate escalating plot of twist and turns all mixed with a metaphoric crossfire of deception and mayhem.
Taking place In NY City, the film stars Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace (Prometheus) as two dispirited souls caught in a subculture web of crime whose characters “Victor” (Farrell) and “Beatrice” (Rapace) are suddenly drawn together by their separate motivations. And while their coincidental connecting circumstances are hardly amicable, they do share desires for revenge with an exacting rigorous urgency.
With a 2 hour running time I really want to like this film a lot. I love these styles of films (The American) where you have laconic, moody and brooding suspicious characters and where the camera work makes people look sexy even getting on and off elevators. .But, in the end I just felt the movie falls a bit short in doing the one thing it must always do to seal the deal with the viewing audience. MAKE ME REALLY CARE.
In the 1995 movie “Heat”, we root for Neil McCauley even though he is a murderous bank robber who kills a lot of people through out the film. Some where in Dead Man Down, the writing, editing or directing failed to subtle infuse the story with it’s necessary emotional sympathetic or empathetic DNA to bring this story together in a tight taut convincing package. And while this film had so much potential to make an old plot of revenge into an effort with modern freshness, instead it was like me watching a decent story that was devoid of anxiety for anyone’s real life or death outcome. . .
So, should you see it? Well, I would suggest you wait to rent it.
Finally, note to the Director Niels Arden Oplev, technical details are very critical when trying to tell a story of this nature. Here a few things to consider in the future.
One, it's normal in the beginning of a film to hold secrets back to be later revealed in the body of the movie, but when I literally don't undertstand the conversations beween certain characters something is terribly wrong, especially in the first 30 minutes. Two, if you are going to do a crime thriller in NY City you can not have protracted combinations of loud shootouts with subsequent loud chases – crashes and then have NYPD virtually absent from those scenes. And finally you can not have 7 criminals in NY City walking in broad day light with large assault weapons openly draped over their shoulders, only to pause at a cross walk to sign a name to receive a letter package and then have the background pedestrians in that scene move past them calmly and nonreactive to their armed prescience; or worse as if people being completely oblivious to openly armed thugs in NY is a benign normal thing to do.
BUT AGAIN I DIGRESS.