Dead Man Down (2013)
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.
Genre : Action/Drama/Thriller
Country : USA
Colin Farrell : Victor
Noomi Rapace : Beatrice
Dominic Cooper : Darcy
Niels Arden Oplev
“I didn’t kill you because they’ve got you.”
A squared revenge. You could summarize this crime/drama like that. Victor (Colin Farrell) is a man who has already infiltrated some time in a corrupt gang, run by Alphonse (Terrence Howard), a not so kosher developer. They are responsible for the death of his daughter and asked an Albanian gang to scare them a bit, after the couple wanted to take legal actions. His wife is killed by the Albanians and they leave him for dead behind. The only goal in Victor’s life is to make the gang , and mainly Alphonse, suffer with as much pain as possible, for the death of his family.However all his planning gets deranged by the hands of his opposite neighbor Beatrice (Noomi Rapace), who had a severe traffic accident in the past which was caused by a drunk guy. The drunk guy got a light sentence and merrily continues his dissolute life. But Beatrice is maimed for life and has painful scars, both physically and mentally. Beatrice has evidence in the form of a film on her cell phone that shows how Victor strangled someone in his apartment. She uses this to blackmail Victor, so he would murder the man responsible for the accident.
“Dead Man Down” has a promising start with the gloom, despair and the feelings of revenge as a central subject. It all looks gloomy and mysterious. Not only the two characters Victor and Beatrice take credit for that , but also the used environment and images. The apartment Victor that looks poor and sober, the fragments in the cemetery where the light from a flashlight is used while searching for the graves of a Hungarian family, the phone call in the evening of two neighbors on their balcony on the top floor. Everything is soaked in a pool of melancholy and deep-rooted sorrow out of which arises an intense feeling of hate.
Colin Farrell is ideal for this role. He has such a sad look that perfectly suits the person Victor. He must be extremely cold-blooded and reserved so he can empathize with his role as a member of the criminal gang. The sad and silent part of him is again an expression of his immense grief over the loss he has suffered. At times he reminded me of Ryan Gosling in “Drive“. A strong piece of acting was when he rejects Beatrice in such a way that he can complete his mission. The combination of determination and helplessness was wonderful to see.
Noomi Rapace, who plays Beatrice, is a kind of replica of him. Just as Lisbeth Salander in “Män som hatar kvinnor” she’s a tormented and emotionally marked woman who wants to take revenge on those who have done something to her. Salander took revenge on a perverse and abusive lawyer, while Beatrice on a drunk driver who despite the heavy facts escapes from a heavy punishment. Beatrice is not only scarred emotionally, but also physically . The heavy traffic accident has caused scars in her face, and some surgical procedures were necessary to make her presentable. Initially she seems to be an unperturbed and ruthless person, who is not afraid to extort Victor and use him as a tool to reach her goal. Gradually she evolves into this compassionate and concerned person. The somewhat bizarre relationship that ultimately flows between these two people is touching. However, the friendship shared with Victor Darcy was much more convincing than those with Beatrice . The opening and closing scene was a clear proof of that.
Niels Arden Oplev also happens to be the director of “Män som hatar kvinnor“. It was the breakthrough for Noomi Rapace as an international star playing Lisbeth Salander. Also an honorable mention for Isabelle Huppert who played the half-deaf mother of Beatrice. A fairly annoying nosy woman who tried to hook up Victor with her daughter all the time. A terrible moment when she pulls out the photo album to show what a beauty Beatrice actually was. Superbly played anyway.
How convincing and sometimes impressive the beginning of this film was, so terribly quickly it went downhill towards the end. There were some things I had second thoughts about. First, I didn’t think the mutilations of Beatrice were that severe that you could see her as a freak or a monstrous person. In my eyes there was still something sweet about her and she was an amiable woman who looked charming. A bit exaggerated to my findings. The moment the recording, Victor made of a brother of one of the Albanians, was played, was so coincidental and terribly well-timed that it turned out to be completely implausible and ridiculous. That such a dark and melancholy film with a perfectly balanced morbid atmosphere can turn into a purely cheap action-packed monstrosity with all the clichés of a Schwarzenegger / Stallone action-movie of the 80, was a huge disappointment for me. The end was like an A-team fragment of a jeep crashing into a mansion with huge explosions as a result, an exaggerated display of guns shooting around and loads of ammunition being used with gang members falling down everywhere, a terribly hilarious scene with the two leaders shooting at each other at the right time and the obvious ending with two bosom friends looking each other in the eyes like rivals. A typical Hollywood spectacle not worthy for this kind of movie. Like in the old musketeer films it was one-against-all again.
“Dead Man Down” had a promising start but dug his own demise by a lousy and rattling end. Oplev was hoping for an American success like his compatriot Refn, but this will not happen with this ordinary film.
My rating 5/10
Links : IMDB