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. Beatrice is kidnapped by Alphonse towards the end, Its a race against time for Victor to save her. 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 »
When Beatrice is looking at a newspaper cutout about her accident, the headline has the word sentence spelled as "sentance". 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 ...
See more »
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)
71 of 93 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?