REVIEW: Dead Man Down

"This takes revenge to the next level."

Two lost souls consumed by revenge meet and form and complicated alliance in hopes of seeing both of their dark ambitions to fruition with no thought of the devastating consequences that may follow.

One of the things I loved about director Niels Arden Oplev's THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO was his artistic style and unforgiving visuals as his pictures tend to say a thousand words--a method more than a few directors seem to have forgotten of late.  DEAD MAN DOWN looks and feels the same, albeit with a bigger budget and thus a more glossy finish, but it encompasses Niels unique vision.  Add to that a slow burn tone--something that's always a mixed bag with audiences and critics alike--and you pretty much had a an idea of what to expect here.  Though not perfect, it's not just another revenge flick either.

No matter the ups and downs Colin Farrell faces in his illustrious career, I'll always be in his corner.  His character, Victor--a man of few words whose soul has been whittled down to nothing--is the animal backed in a corner you just don't want to mess with.  His humanity is still intact, something that becomes evident when we see him watching old movies and of course, by his willingness to help Beatrice (Noomi Rapace) rather than just kill her and be done with it.  That's the one thing I don't get about this flick.  Beatrice is also consumed with thoughts of revenge, but seriously, you watch a guy smoke another guy and then decide it's a good idea to try and blackmail him into helping you?  It takes some brass cojones to do what she did, which I commend, but I can't help but think if that happened in the real world she'd have ended up sleeping with the fish.

My other conundrum is with actress Noomi Rapace.  I'm still not sure if I like her or not.  Don't get me wrong, I loved her vision of Lisbeth Salader much more than the newest one, but I didn't care for her much in SHERLOCK HOLMES or PROMETHIUS.  She has her moments and obviously plays the broken character persona down to a "T", but I'm just not sure that's enough.  Terrence Howard, on the other hand, is the man and I was overjoyed to see him revert back to his villainous roots.  Howard is great no matter the role, or side he's on, but something about him just "fits" when he's playing the bad guy.  He's funny, ruthless, paranoid and cunning all at the same time--I've said this before, but I still wish they'd kept him on as Rhodey in the IRON MAN films, the series would have been so much better for it.

DEAD MAN DOWN is a stylistic, dark action thriller that whispers revenge in your ear almost seductively as it glides along at a slow, creeping pace.  The dialogue is smart, the characters are emotionally broken, but not to the point where they lose their realism.  Revenge is sweet, but we don't always think about the consequences.  This flick deals with both sides of the coin, and balances them well.  The action is also well done, from the sick looking flaming explosion to the rat interrogation (loved it).  There's more meat to this film then you'd expect, something that surprised the hell out of me considering this is a WWE produced film (I know, right.  And yes, they did squeeze in a wrestler who shouldn't be too hard for you to spot).  Like I said in the beginning, it's far from perfect, but there's something special here for fans of noir type action films that begs it not be missed. 

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