When the director of the original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo reunites with Noomi Rapace and teams up with Colin Farrell to make a pseudo-noir crime drama, you would expect that film to be utterly fantastic. Noomi Rapace plays Beatrice, a woman whose unbelievable beauty was marred after a drunk driver struck her car and scarred her face. Colin Farrell is Victor, a soldier in Terrence Howard’s criminal empire, who, along with Beatrice, is planning a bloody revenge. Victor’s past is a mystery and Beatrice comes into his life with a threat of blackmail.
Colin Farrell isn’t necessarily a sure bet when it comes to movies. Yes, he always gives an admirable performance and I thought he was the only redeemable part of Daredevil, but his track record is easily 50/50. His performance in Dead Man Down is good, unfortunately the material given to him isn’t. His personal reasons for revenge against Terrence Howard, which the film likes to treat as a mystery, but reveals that he is a saboteur within the first five minutes, are a valid driving force, Noomi Rapace’s simply aren’t.
After a successful career as a beautician, her accident shatters her self confidence. How can she tell people how to be beautiful when she looks so hideous? But then, she really doesn’t. As someone who read Invisible Monsters, the absolutely gorgeous woman whose beauty is destroyed actually has to have her beauty destroyed. Some pink scars across a small portion of her face doesn’t drastically detract from Rapace’s natural beauty. Wanting the man who did that to her dead seems like a drastic and unreasonable response.
Bad writing can certainly have a charm to it, even when taken seriously, but not here. Cliched lines and hamfisted dialog that is clearly supposed to be so much more proliferates so much of the screen time that anytime anything memorable actually happens it comes as a surprise. Though, in spite of all that, I still found myself enjoying parts of this movie. Victor is a man who has been pushed to the very edge, and his insistence on the widest sweeping revenge plot that he can possibly manages has led him to take so many chances that it doesn’t feel like he will succeed. At the very least, that tension comes across and held my attention throughout the movie.
Most people won’t be able to stand Dead Man Down. Its pace leisurely strolls up until the finale and for no discernible reason. It made the climax a little more impactful, but that impact is robbed when you take a step back and wonder where the hell the police are in this world. Whether someone is sniping people on the street or driving a pickup truck into a house in the wealthy part of town, cops are nowhere to be found. The talent involved deserved so much more than this movie ended up being. There are a few redeemable factors, but nothing that deserves your attendance in the theater. Past the post Christmas dumping ground, we are not.
In Theaters: March 8, 2013
Runtime: 1 hour 50 minutes
Rating: R (for violence, language throughout and a scene of sexuality)
Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Cast: Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Dominic Cooper, Terrence Howard, Isabelle Huppert
Genre: Thriller, Crime
Official Site: http://blooddemandsblood.com/