A thief with a unique code of professional ethics is double-crossed by his crew and left for dead. Assuming a new disguise and forming an unlikely alliance with a woman on the inside, he looks to hijack the score of the crew's latest heist.
A factory worker, Douglas Quaid, begins to suspect that he is a spy after visiting Rekall - a company that provides its clients with implanted fake memories of a life they would like to have led - goes wrong and he finds himself on the run.
Homeless and on the run from a military court martial, a damaged ex-special forces soldier navigating London's criminal underworld seizes an opportunity to assume another man's identity -- transforming into an avenging angel in the process.
Victor, a rising gangland player, has infiltrated the crime empire run by ruthless kingpin Alphonse, with the single purpose of making Alphonse pay for destroying his once happy life. As he meticulously orchestrates his vengeance from his high-rise home, Victor watches and is watched by Beatrice, a mysterious young woman who lives in the apartment across from his. On the surface a fragile woman-child, Beatrice seethes with a rage of her own. When she uncovers Victor's dark secrets, she threatens to expose him unless he helps her carry out her own campaign of retribution. Each fixated on avenging the past, they devise a violent and cathartic plan that could change their worlds forever. Written by
Director Niels Arden Oplev has disowned the American advertising campaign, which he felt misrepresented the film. He also spoke of budget problems during production, which forced him to speed up the shoot, and of not being able to edit the film the way he would have preferred. See more »
At the end of the film, while Victor and Beatrice travel home on the NYC subway, you can see the sign "York-Dauphin", which is a Elevated stop on Philadelphia's SEPTA Market Frankford Line. See more »
[holding infant son]
It wasn't meant to be this way, you know? We make our plans, sure. But life... life is what happens to you along the way. You know, first I didn't want this. I didn't want to connect. I didn't want to get involved. But she kept on with me, you know. This is what life is. This is why we're here. To connect. To... to build. We're here to build something. And then we had Theo. And then I understood that... you know, she was right. We're not meant to be alone. You ...
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A fascinatingly grim look at revenge and, less commonly, the aftermath.
The revenge genre is often a tired one. The majority are either so sullen that they lose sight of what makes these fantasies entertaining or too silly to offer any glimpse of realism or consequence. "Dead Man Down" offers just the right amount of grittiness to be taken seriously, but also maintains its own identity with a heavy focus on character development and a more philosophical viewpoint on the nature of getting even. The vengeful gangster and his plight may be a repetitive backstory, but the cryptic structuring, attention to emotion, and competent acting strengthens the refreshingly fluctuating twists. While the conclusion digresses into a prosaic, albeit satisfying action sequence, it doesn't dilute the antiheros' uniquely warped relationship or their infectiously harsh personalities.
When crime lord Alphonse's (Terence Howard) men begin turning up murdered, along with enigmatic clues elaborating on the responsible party, the gangster looks to his henchmen Victor (Colin Farrell) and Darcy (Dominic Cooper) for answers. But Victor has his own plans, including a labored revenge scheme against those that wronged him in the past. As he steadily brings his complex machinations to fruition, he starts an unlikely relationship with his neighbor, Beatrice (Noomi Rapace), an emotionally damaged woman with desires just as ominous as his. Forced into a vicious cycle of vengeance, Victor must attempt to not only satisfy his demons but also salvage the soul of his newfound companion.
Adorned with an impossibly generic title, "Dead Man Down" is unexpectedly an absorbingly unique revenge fantasy. Devoid of the typical action, adventure, and beauteous damsels-in-distress, it is instead a morbidly dark, fascinatingly grim look at revenge and, less commonly, the aftermath. The emotions experienced by the hateful, the murderous, and the defensive are scrutinized beyond the normal array of purely evil entities undergoing deserved comeuppance. Nothing is black and white in the film instead, every character is tinged with complications and questionable qualities, making this group of antiheroes unpredictable, sympathetic, or repugnant in alternating turns.
It's rare to see a crime thriller spend so much time on character development. It's also quite welcome the ulterior motives, extortive attitudes, and sabotage aren't awkwardly spontaneous but rather sensible operations for generously analyzed mentalities. These aren't cardboard cutouts; and excessive dialogue doesn't make up for lack of substance. Instead, director Niels Arden Oplev opts for prolonged, brooding facial communications that convey much more than stale words. It's a feat for Farrell to be so convincing as an implacable gangster (his best role since "In Bruges") and Rapace is sensational as an equally bitter survivor who literally wears the scars of mental anguish on her face. Howard is one of the few weak spots, once again taking a sinister role and making it apprehensive. And although the climax embodies the raging, explosive visualization of suspenseful retribution that audiences crave (a contrasting culmination for the sake of crowd-pleasing action), it's the contrived satisfaction "Dead Man Down" needs to soften the blow of such a severe, serious series of retaliations.
The Massie Twins (GoneWithTheTwins.com)
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