In New York City, a crime lord's right-hand man is seduced by one of his boss's victims, a woman seeking retribution.
It stars Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Dominic Cooper, and Terrence Howard. It was written by J.H. Wyman and directed by Niels Arden Oplev.
Now after Lance and Berg sat in the theater, with the one seat spacer between the two of them, they emailed back and forth reviewing the movie. This is a trial run on this format, so please comment below and provide feedback.
LANCE: Before we get into anything that can be viewed as any Spoilers, What was your overall view of the Movie? For me it was a mixed bag, the movie never found its voice. The tone and the feel jumped all over the place. I think the screen writers vision, and the directors vision were never in line. Even with that weakness, as a whole, the movie was entertaining. There were some great performances. What did you think?
BERG: For me the movie had a lot of potential. Some of which it lived up to and in other areas it fell far short. It was basically two movies, one a stylized noir piece and the other an attempt at Hollywood action flick. Within those two styles is a certain pace which this movie couldn't decide on. That being said I found several performances that I enjoyed along with some textures that stuck with me after the movie was over. What performances did you think were great?
By far the best overall performance was by Noomi Rapace. She portrayed the damaged soul that was Beatrice. She had multiple “moments” where she fully became her character. She had every aspect of the character displayed on the silver screen perfectly. This was absolutely on display in the car on the way to the second date. The subtle gestures and minor expressions she gives, give you more insight into Beatrice what she is thinking or feeling than any voice over ever would. Also F. Murray Abraham, who played Colin Farrell’s mentor Gregor. He ate the screen up, I couldn’t get enough of his screen time. What actors/actresses did the most for you in this film?
I will echo your sentiment that Noomi Rapace was fantastic, however, the actor I couldn't help but be drawn to was Dominic Cooper as Darcy. From his opening speech to the subtle humor he displayed, as when he jokingly refers to himself as Columbo, he completely embraced the nuances of his character. His characters motivation was clear and believable, and I found myself conflicted when I was rooting against him. Credit of his performance also goes to the writing in that his character was one of a few that actually was fleshed out. Lance, what performances were poor or altogether not needed?
Terrence Howard. Outside of one scene, his performance was flat, tired, and boring. He mailed it in. I will admit he isn’t my favorite actor, and I feel he is over rated as a whole. Maybe that factored into me view. To his credit, the scene of him sitting down in the construction site, portions in the preview, he was great. All of the gang members, and the Albanian Gang were not flushed out at all. They were just the typical goons you can see in every movie. Who performance disappointed you?
I don't want to get on the Terrence Howard hate train but, yes, his performance seemed to lack luster for a man whose had several good performances in the past (see Hustle and Flow). However, I think I'd rather talk about Armand Assante. Don't get me wrong his delivery was superb. But his character's appearance was so short and underutilized that I feel they could have done without it. It was just a means to set up a sniper sequence. Maybe there were more scenes that were cut out, I don't know. Ultimately, for me, it was a distraction. Was there anything else that you really enjoyed and/or disliked?
Some that you brought up as we were leaving the theater, and you were 100% correct. The cinematography work and shot selection in this film was breathtaking. That and the feeling this was a waste of potential. There were so many things about this film that were going in the right direction. What about you, any other elements you want to talk about?
The last thing that comes to mind is a song. Now, I don't know what the song is called, nor who sings it, whether it's old or new, and I couldn't find any information on it. But there is a song that appears twice in the movie. Once when Beatrice comes home from a disappointing date with Victor and she wants to be alone and consoled, and the other was during the epilogue and credits. The texture that this French singer conveys was breathtaking. The sound transfer of the needle hitting the wax of the vinyl was visceral. I found myself smiling as I walked out of the theater. Overall, how would you rate this movie, and would you suggest it to others?
Yeah I would suggest people give this film a chance. It is probably a DVD pick more so than a must see in theater. The last action scene is the only aspect that really needs to be seen on the big screen. Overall I would give it a solid 3 on a 5 point scale. How about you Berg, what is your final take and rating on Dead Man Down?
I think people should give this movie a chance also. Elements really work on the big screen so if there's an inexpensive theater nearby go check it out, otherwise wait for DVD. I give it a decent 3.5 out of 5.
Til the next ManDate, and remember... leave space between ya!