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article imageReview: 'Dead Man Down' was capable of more Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Mar 9, 2013 in Entertainment
'Dead Man Down' is about a man with many secrets just trying to keep up the façade long enough to complete his mission and help a friend.
"Revenge is a dish best served cold." Though no one actually utters this line in Dead Man Down, it is the essence of the film. There are many characters seeking vengeance for various transgressions, though one plan is the picture's driving force.
Victor (Colin Farrell) and Darcy (Dominic Cooper) are Alphonse's (Terrence Howard) crew's newest members, though they're as loyal as the oldest. So when one of their guys ends up in cold storage and the next target appears to be their boss, everyone jumps into action to prevent that from happening. In the meantime, Victor connects with Beatrice (Noomi Rapace), a mysterious woman who lives in the apartment building across from his own. But everyone has an ulterior motive even if everyone can't get their way.
If this film is evidence of something, it's that not all WWE Studios productions are going to be action-oriented. Save for two explosive scenes, the remainder of the movie is a relatively slow burn. Histories are gradually revealed, which in turn advances the plot and gives the characters depth.
What begins as a seemingly simple story about gangsters and territory disputes quickly becomes a complicated tale of revenge. Months of careful plotting is finally reaching its end and the bad guys will finally pay for destroying innocent lives. But people are getting close to spoiling the carefully laid out design, altering plans and moving up timelines.
The idea for the script is solid, though its fondness for melodrama can be a little much at times. And the conclusion is somewhat forced and slightly ridiculous. But the tangled web of payback is weaved well. Niels Arden Oplev, director of the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, pushes the actors to be grave. But they're never particularly sympathetic even though you can understand their situations. Still, an interesting theme in the movie centres on living. Throughout the picture, characters are reminded they are alive; they survived their tragedies and should live rather than hide behind their pain.
Farrell is calculating as Victor, but he is not given much opportunity to be expressive even in grief, which is unfortunate. Rapace is adequate, though the complexity of her character's inner torment is never really explored to its full potential. These unrealized opportunities are the picture's most notable failings. On the other hand, Cooper’s feverish portrayal of Darcy is spot-on.
Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Starring: Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace and Dominic Cooper
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