DEAD MAN DOWN
BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
MARCH 13, 2013
“Dead Man Down” has a slow burn. Filled with moments that either feel weighted and impacting or fall a bit slack and uneven, the film is mainly held firm by the leading cast that packs all the punch. Colin Farrell proves he can lead a movie, playing the quiet, dark revenge seeker. Noomi Rapace continues to show her undeniable skill as an actress. Even though she is supposed to be a “monster” with “hideous” scars on her face, she’s kept rather charming and eloquent, often taking you out of the film when approached as though she were a disabled hunchback.
There’s a glimpse of what the film could have been within the first act of the film when Farrell and Rapace’s characters meet one another. You get a sense that their meeting and involvement with one another is innocent and sincere, but your assumptions turn upside down in the best ways. Once you realize the big “twist” of the film, some of the magic disappears, and it becomes a straightforward revenge thriller, something with which Niels Arden Oplev (the original “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”) has plenty of history.
Terence Howard makes a perfect villain, and Dominic Cooper again finds the spotlight, proving there’s no supporting role Cooper can’t raise to a new level. Had “Dead Man Down” been a bit more mysterious, it could have been the best thriller of the year so far, but instead offers up some worthwhile performances, all while staying quite average in plot and character development.
March 8, 2013
Niels Arden Oplev
(for violence, language throughout and a scene of sexuality)
Timothy A. Good
F. Murray Abraham
Neal H. Moritz