Victor (Colin Farrell) is one of the best men working for the gangster Alphonse (Terrence Howard). However Victor does seem to have an agenda – something he is pursuing whenever he isn’t around Alphonse and his men.
Beatrice (Noomi Rapace) is a young woman who lives in the apartment building across him. She has been in a car crash, and her face still shows some of the scars despite reconstructive surgeries. She is being mocked by kids, doesn’t feel “authoritative enough” to go back to her job as a beautician.
Victor says yes, wondering if she has witnessed the murder he committed in his flat. She has, and this is why she asked him out- she has a “business” proposal. Victor can kill the man who caused her accident (and didn’t serve much in prison), and she can forget about the murder. Or she can go the cops.
Victor is obligated to accept, because he is not exactly a cold-blooded killer.
But as Beatrice spends more time with and around Victor (she gives him info on his “target”, and finds excuses to hang around to find out more about him), they start feeling a connection.
And as much as Victor develops feelings for Beatrice, he’s running out of time to take his own revenge on a very large scale; and this will get them both in more danger.
Dead Man Down is a nice action/drama hybrid that balances drama and action well.
Farrell first appears as any other hired gun. He watches his boss’ back, is cool and composed. But you do sense something is different, and soon it is revelead that he is working for Alphonse (Terrence Howard) for a whole other reason- and this gives us a new perspective on his career, and explains why a “killer” wouldn’t just kill Beatrice and be done with her for good.
Rapace also fleshes Beatrice out. You find yourself identifying with her. You understand why she might start hating so much, and the pain would finally compel her to consider something so drastic. And frankly, while I wouldn’t go as far as comtemplating murder, I think I’d have made sure the drunk (who ran me over without any punishments and messed up my joy of life, health and confidence) ended up beaten up pretty badly or something. And because she is in a dark state of mind, she has the balls to ask a “killer” out, and makes her threat without taking precautions. If he went nuts and killed her right there and then, she wouldn’t have minded terribly.
But as they give each other more moments to smile about, the attraction grows.
I’ll admit that I was positively biased before watching this. I love a good revenge story based on the loss of a loved one. I love that they didn’t go that way for Rapace’s character, but her acting and psychology enables us to empathize at one leve or another. I also like the cast, and I was sold from the trailer.
Add a well-shot, well-acted full feature with a decent soundtrack, and well, I already saw Dead Man Down twice, enjoying it even more the second time. Through a second viewing, character actions and motivations make even more sense.
While some viewers didn’t find the cruel kids’ reaction to Beatrice (calling her a monster, throwning stones at her) not realistic, they should remember that some kids, like people, can be cruel for the most superficial of all reasons- and they should be happy they haven’t been exposed to such behaviour. Those viewers should also watch Mads Mikkelsen’s The Hunt. Sometimes kids can do scary, unimaginable things…
Dead Man Down has entered the list of favorite revenge movies, and it looks like it’ll remain there. 5 other revenge movies I really love are on covered on this post: 5 Awesome Revenge Movies feat. Gerard Butler, Kevin Bacon, Antonio Banderas, Brandon Lee and Mel Gibson.
Also on Colin Farrell: