Matt Adcock’s film review: Dead Man Down

“They killed my wife. They killed my daughter. They should have made sure they killed me too.”

By The Newsroom
Monday, 6th May 2013, 7:30 am
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If you’re in the mood for a dark crime revenge thriller from the maker of the original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, then Dead Man Down is an interesting oddity that delivers enough to make it worth a look.

Meet Victor (Colin ‘Seven Psychopaths’ Farrell), a small-time gang member who has a dark reason for signing up with the crime empire run by scary kingpin Alphonse (Terrence ‘Red Tails’ Howard).

Victor, you see, is a man on a revenge mission and he means to have payback for the killing of his wife and child by taking down those responsible from the inside of their shady operation.

His plan is somewhat complicated when he crosses paths with Beatrice (Noomi ‘Prometheus’ Rapace), a strange young woman with terrible facial scarring who lives across from him. It seems that she seen something that Victor would rather she had not, and now he must do something for her which also involves revenge.

Dead Man Down looks superb. The cinematography is far better than you’d expect for a film part- funded by WWE Studios, who normally make terrible movies involving at least one of their former grunt and gurn wrestling stars.

I’m guessing that the main reason the film works so well is that director Opley brings his bleak-infused Nordic edge to the party. It might not have the same cult following as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo but it does have a similar aura.

The central relationship between Victor and Beatrice keeps you hooked through the fairly standard crime drama plot. Farrell and Rapace generate some good chemistry and the supporting cast work well, especially Dominic Cooper as Darcy, Victor’s only real friend in the gang, who might just be the biggest threat to his plan.

If there’s anything that doesn’t quite work it’s the semi-comedy role of French actress Isabelle Huppert as Beatrice’s mother Valentin, all nudge nudge, wink wink encouragement for the two leads to get together.

The trailer for Dead Man Down shows off pretty much all the action scenes.

They are good but you shouldn’t go in expecting a gung-ho Die Hard shoot-em-up.

Rather this will leave you thinking dark thoughts about how far people will go to avenge wrongs and, despite the large body-count, there is a deeper level of emotion being effectively tapped here.