The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Dead Man Down | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Dead Man Down

A gang member schemes to take revenge on his boss, the man responsible for the death of his wife and daughter.

Directed by: Niels Arden Oplev
Starring: Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Terrence Howard, Dominic Cooper, Isabelle Huppert

Victor (Farrell) is a member of a drug gang headed by Alphonse (Howard), the man who, two years earlier, unknowingly was responsible for the death of Victor's wife and young daughter. Victor secretly plots against Alphonse, sending him pieces of a mysterious photo each time he kills one of his gang. One night, Victor goes on a date with his neighbor Beatrice, a French girl who has become a recluse after a car accident left her with facial scarring. Beatrice reveals to Victor that she witnessed him murder one of Alphonse's men and uses this knowledge to blackmail him into killing the drunk driver responsible for her accident.
'Dead Man Down' is the story of a man hiding his true identity but the film seems to suffering from several identity crises of its own. Produced by World Wrestling Entertainment, it's a far more serious film than this association would lead you to expect, and I'm pretty sure it doesn't feature any wrestlers, certainly not in the lead roles. There are only two sequences which could be described as "action scenes" but even that's pushing it. Most of the film feels like the filler you usually find in between such set-pieces. Think of a Jason Statham movie with all the action moments edited out and you'll have a good idea of the overall tone of this film.
Director Oplev was responsible for the original Swedish version of 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo', an unremarkably directed TV movie, so it's strange that he would be offered a big American film like this. The WWE seem determined to avoid stereotyping so much that they even cast that poster girl of European arthouse cinema, Isabelle Huppert, in a minor role as the mother of Rapace's character. Any continental feel they were striving for, however, is undone by the subplot of Rapace's facial scar. It's practically unnoticeable, as no commercial American film is going to cast an attractive actress only to cover her face in scar tissue.
Dead man down? Dead duck floating more like.