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Dead Man Down certainly is a cool little revenge thriller with a love story wrapped around it, but the intensity that the film slams on you within the first fifteen minutes flutters away. What’s left is a decent love story with little sprinkles of action that feels a little too long for its run time.

 

The Players

The Plot:

Victor (Farrell) is a quiet but strong man who works for one of the most powerful gangs in his town. But unknowing to the leader (Howard), the mysterious person who’s been harassing him for the past few months is Victor himself. As he unleashes his grand scheme for revenge against those who murdered his family, Victor finds comfort in a new friend and potential lover Beatrice (Rapace) who shares a similar bloodlust. As the two inch closer towards their goals, they begin to wonder if it’s really worth it in the end.

The Good:

  •  All Our Actors: There’s no way you can go wrong with this cast of talented actors. Farrell and Rapace share this subtle but powerful bond with each other. Sure, they share a mutual agenda when it pertains to the topic of revenge, but they both can relate to each other in many ways due to their pasts and have an electrifying chemistry between the two. Then there’s the interactions between Farrell/Cooper and Farrell/Howard. While Victor must finish what he’s started, he’s been in this gang for too long and gained close attachments to a couple of members in the process. The two additional characters, though both may be involved in shadier dealings, are still very much the character Victor’s surrogate family and it shows through all of their performances.
  • Our Beginning/Setting: One has to admire a picture that throws you right into the main event without holding your hand and slowly explaining it all to you. It’s always upsetting to see any film bog you down with unnecessary exposition, so this film gets a thumbs up in regards to it’s opening. When Dead Man Down begins, you’re hurled into this dank city, the kind of scummy world that so clearly reflects the kind of corruption you’d imagine it holds. Niels Arden Oplev does a fine job making the audience feel like they’re buried deep within this claustrophobic, cruddy city from start to finish.
  • Oplev: This must be the year for foreign filmmakers to successfully strut their stuff to American audiences, and Niels Arden Oplev is one of those directors. His cool visual style blends in perfectly with the complex story line. The audience is never overwhelmed with over-saturation in scenes or shoddy direction in our big action sequences. Oplev’s been around the block long enough to know how to keep us all engaged with one interesting shot after another.

The So-So:

  •  Beatrice’s Motive/Make-Up: We understand that Beatrice (Rapace) is a disfigured woman who believes that her life is a living hell after the accident that permanently scarred her face, but she doesn’t look ugly at all. It doesn’t really make that much sense that the neighborhood children would pick on her, call her names like “monster” when all she has to do is get a little bit of foundation on that face and wham, she looks 100% normal. When Beatrice pleads with Victor to kill the man that made her this way, you’re not entirely on board. Beatrice’s motive for revenge doesn’t make sense and it feels as if she’s dragging us all down into her own pity party. Maybe if the character appeared more visibly messed up from the hit and run accident, audiences would have more sympathy for her.
  • Unbalanced: The outline for Dead Man Down must have looked absolutely spectacular on paper. We’re talking about a man seeking vengeance who happens to find a deep love along the way. It’s just too bad that the movie feels a little too heavy on the romance side than it does the revenge portion of the tale. While they do a sweet job emphasizing on how Beatrice and Victor affect each other’s lives in different ways, you almost forget that it’s a revenge film until it reminds you towards the end, which is a bit irritating. Maybe if they had snipped a scene or two of our love tale it would have looked better, and not feel so long too.

Overall:

Dead Man Down isn’t a bad film in the least, but some of it’s story bumps are noticeable. Either way it’s still entertaining enough to watch.

The Rating:  6.5/10

Dead Man Down is in theaters everywhere.

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Trailer: