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Review: Dead Man Down

By JORDAN RIEFE  |  March 8, 2013
3.0 3.0 Stars



Following the stunning success of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Danish filmmaker Niels Arden Oplev makes his English-language bow with this bleak film noir that values character over tension. Set in lower Manhattan, it stars Colin Farrell as Victor, a gangster working under a sadistic crime boss, Alphonse Hoyt (Terrence Howard). Victor endures the abuse because he seeks revenge for Hoyt's involvement in the murder of his wife and daughter. Meanwhile, Beatrice (Noomi Rapace), who lives next door, complicates matters, blackmailing Victor into killing the drunk driver responsible for scarring her face. J.H. Wyman's nuanced screenplay offers complex characters expertly played by Farrell and Rapace, who are well supported by Isabelle Huppert, F. Murray Abraham, Armand Assante, and Dominic Cooper. At times their inner lives bog down the pacing, but Oplev delivers a movie that easily outdoes his wildly overrated Dragon Tattoo and is tonally precise and brimming with humanity.

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