“Dead Man Down” is a riveting, suspenseful, chilling revenge flick with an unusual romantic dynamic spun by the two lead characters’ quest for blood.
Victor, played by Colin Farrell, is a mobster’s thug secretly on a mission to avenge the murder of his wife and daughter, who were both killed on the behest of his current boss Alphonse (Terrence Howard). Early on, there is an awkward exchange between Victor and Noomi Rapace’s character Beatrice, the woman who lives across the balcony from Victor. Beatrice is a former beautician whose face was left permanently damaged after a car accident.
Viewers later learn that the tension between the pair stems from Beatrice witnessing Victor throwing a man out of his balcony and killing him. When the two finally meet, Beatrice vows to keep Victor’s secret-as long as he kills the man responsible for her face and threatens to turn him into the police if he does not.
Beatrice has an unusual fascination with Victor, as she uses her hired assassin as a way to therapeutically cope with the damage that has been done to her. The scenes with Beatrice and Victor are the best in the movie. The dimensional charisma the two display, although sometimes quite awkward, (from the pain of each character being victimized by individual violent tragedies) and their shared quests to make their enemies pay is quite compelling.
“Dead Man Down” was suspenseful, fast-paced and thrilling. However, the plot at times was very goofy at times. It was hard to believe that Victor could successfully gain Alphonse’s trust so easily.
The action also seemed far-fetched. Howard’s character was not a convincing villain. He seemed weak and erratic and was not successfully utilized in the film. The movie makers didn’t do enough to create an emotional antagonistic connection between Alphonse and Victor; it was implied, but it didn’t feel believable. This made it hard to be fully satisfied when Alphonse was taken down.
If you like action-packed suspense thrillers with a lot of violence, you might enjoy this movie. It wasn’t spectacular, but it certainly came with an entertaining rush. At times, the film was, compelling and emotional. However, many times it was just plain silly, like many Hollywood action films. The effects and bloodshed kept the movie entertaining and bearable, even though some of its goofiest moments.
“Dead Man Down” is a solid two-star film. It’s not a movie you’ll consider your favorite, but if you like action, violence and drama, you shouldn’t regret seeing it.