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Dead Man Down movie review: Revenge is bittersweet

Danish Director Niels Arden Oplev and Swedish actress Noomi Rapace are best known for making the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Here, Colin Farrell joins the Scandinavian clique and heads to the streets of New York for a gritty crime drama with mysterious characters.

Dead Man Down

3 Stars: Perfect for fans of the Swedish Girl
with the Dragon Tattoo

Victor (Colin Farrell) works for Alphonse (Terrence Howard), a dirty real estate dealer who isn’t above killing to scare low-renters or immigrants out of his properties.

But Victor isn’t your average thug —it turns out he has a vendetta against Alphonse and is working in secret to get retribution. Alphonse is responsible for the death of Victor’s wife and little girl years earlier and Victor will stop at nothing to make him pay. His grand hope is that this revenge killing will bring about the proverbial silence of the lambs. But something in him knows it isn’t that easy.

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Dead Man Down

In a Hitchcockian twist, Victor’s seemingly beautiful neighbor Beatrice (Noomi Rapace) has been watching Victor through his window at night. He can see her, too, and waves occasionally. It isn’t until he meets her that he sees the terrible scars on one side of her face. Turns out, she has secrets of her own.

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When Beatrice accidentally sees Victor kill a man, she blackmails him into agreeing to kill the person who’s responsible for her terrible scars. It seems she wants to silence some lambs as well.

Dead Man Down

Farrell gives a fantastically understated, moving performance, getting great mileage from very sparse dialogue. He does well as the man broken on the inside.

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Rapace is equally compelling, squashing her sadness until she explodes with anger and hatred. A former beautician, Beatrice cannot reconcile the ugliness she sees in the mirror.

Bottom line: Dead Man Down is full of big talent and creates some truly intriguing characters. The multilayered story is often confusing however, and had this reviewer scratching her head more than once. But if you love dark, neo-noir film, you’ll love this movie.

The running time is 1 hour, 50 minutes.

Photo credit: FilmDistrict

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