'Dead Man Down' has lifeless rhythm
It's a tossup which of these perfectly crafted bits of patter in the unwitting gangland noir parody “Dead Man Down” takes the cake for over-the-top irrelevance.
Do you want “Rabbits don't come in chartreuse”?
Or how about “Thank you for returning my Tupperware”?
The former is delivered by Colin Farrell, “Dead Man Down's” taciturn, tough-guy protagonist, a hitman who has made the acquaintance of his emotionally and physically scarred apartment building neighbor, Beatrice (Noomi Rapace). She gives him a shocking-green rabbit's foot for good luck. Farrell does his best to sound Bogie-esque as he offers his matter-of-fact observation. If there's irony there, it's lost on Beatrice. And on Farrell.
The Tupperware line belongs to Isabelle Huppert, the great French actress consigned to a few short scenes here as Beatrice's impossibly snoopy mom. She and Beatrice live on the 18th floor of a building in Queens, where they can stare from the windows at the Manhattan skyline — or stare straight into the apartment of Victor (Farrell).
“Dead Man Down” teems with thugs and mugs, with references to dead Jamaicans and troublesome Albanians. The film has been directed in a murky, rhythmless fashion by Niels Arden Oplev, who directed Rapace in the original Swedish-language “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”
Farrell's Victor is the aide-de-camp to a crime lord named Alphonse (Terrence Howard), who holes up in a manor and is increasingly on edge, thanks to a series of cryptic notes and menacing cut-out photographs he's been getting lately.
And then Pauly, another mobster, shows up in a basement freezer, a very cold stiff. Unsettling, no?
You don't need to be a genius to figure out that Victor may not be the loyal soldier Alphonse takes him for. Beatrice figures it out soon enough, trailing Victor as he sets up his sniper's rifle on a building roof.
But it takes Darcy (Dominic Cooper), Victor's gangmate and best buddy, almost the entire movie to arrive at the same conclusion. His moment of revelation prompts yet another screenwriting gem: “You lied to me!” he says to Victor. “The godfather of my son!”
Talk about betrayal.
Steven Rea writes about movies for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Vin Diesel showing some love for Pittsburgh and co-star
- Review: Gay rights, worker’s woes bring everyone together in ‘Pride’
- Saldana, Luna talk Day of the Dead, ‘Book of Life’
- A&E notebook: Extras sought for Will Smith film in Pittsburgh
- Zombie master Romero returns to roots in Evans City
- Review: ‘Best of Me’ is the worst of Nicholas Sparks
- Review: This time, Nic Cage and Chad Michael Murray are the ones ‘Left Behind’
- Review: ‘Book of Life’ offers up tale told in animated colors
- Review: ‘Fury’ makes a fine B-movie vehicle for Wardaddy Brad Pitt
- Review: ‘Men, Women & Children’ doesn’t click