Man, I saw the trailers for this and thought it looked really good. It seemed all moody and intense. And for the most part, it’s exactly that. And then the final act comes along and suddenly it’s like a Die Hard movie. Yeah, it’s a little jarring to say the least. Unfortunately, it keeps Dead Man Down from being a really good film.
Man, I saw the trailers for this and thoguht it looked really good. It seemed all moody and intense. And for the most part, it’s exactly that. And then the final act comes along and suddenly it’s like a Die Hard movie. Yeah, it’s a little jarring to say the least. Unfortunately, it keeps Dead Man Down from being a really good film.
Colin Farrell plays Victor, a henchman for a crime lord who’s really a mole with a personal agenda of revenge. But then he meets Beatrice (Noomi Rapace), who rather suddenly puts Victor in a very difficult postion by blackmailing him into killing the drunk driver that ran into her and permanently disfigured her face.
Ok, I know, this all sounds a little much; there’s some parts of this film that are a little hard to swallow belief-wise, but the cast is great and manage to make you go along for the ride. Victor was an engineer from Hunary and moved to America with his wife and daughter. They get killed on the order of crime lord Alphonse, played by a great Terrence Howard. Now thought dead, too, Victor eventually worked his way into Alphonse’s organization and is looking for revenge. Alphonse keeps getting weird, threatening notes and photos and it’s getting to him. Turns out it’s all Victor’s doing, and no one is the wiser.
But another of Alphonse’s men, Darcy (Dominic Cooper) is determined to find out who’s doing all this. That puts more heat on Victor. And if THAT weren’t enough, he meets this Beatrice who blackmails him because she witnessed Victor kill a man in his apartment, which is in the building right across from hers. Now, this is presented rather jarringly, but still buyable. Beatrice and Victor are two people consumed by revenge, and that separates them from other people. Farrell and Rapace both do really great here as people grappling with their desire for vengeance and their own personal sense of right and wrong. Noomi Rapace in particular is really earing her pay.
Dead Man Down is, for the most part, a slow burn, indie type of thriller. It’s complex, there’s a lot of cat and mouse going on, and you don’t always know exactly what it’s going to do. It has all the tellings of a film that could end darkly and that’s how it seems it should be. But then the third act culminates in an explosive, crazy, high energy shootout that feels more like it should be the end of a Die Hard or Schwarzengger movie. It’s so jarring that I almost thought someone had spliced in the end of a different film. And yeah, for an action film it offers a certain amount of satisfaction. But for the tone of everything previous in Dead Man Down, it’s just way off. It’s far too sudden – almost like a cheat. It feels like maybe the studio felt the original ending was too dark, and they said they wanted a more up beat, action resolution, so the director, Niels Arden Oplev (director of the original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), bent to the will of Hollywood and stuck a fast food ending to what was a already a meal with many complex flavors.
Do I know this is what happened? No. But it sure as Hell feels like it, even though I would find it hard to believe this director would compromise so much. Dead Man Down is written by J. H. Wyman, who wrote The Mexican and numerous episodes of the TV show Fringe. Kinda makes it a wash for me. Maybe they made Wyman change his script? Who knows.
I can’t say Dead Man Down is a bad film, but it’s not nearly as good as it could have been if they had just reworked the ending. I’m giving it three kittenhands for all the good it does have, which is at least the first two thirds of the film. I hate to see films like this because they have so much good going for it. It’s a lot of wasted celluloid on something that could easily have been changed a little to make it so much more effective. It’s so damn frustrating.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie -goer, wishing this had a darker, more poignant ending.