Dead Man Down (2013)

(On Cable TV, October 2014) For some reason, I expected a bit more oomph from this thriller.  Colin Farrell isn’t the big star he used to be, so it’s not as big a surprise to find him in a quasi-direct-to-video thriller.  Still, much of Dead Man Down has the unfortunate tendency to combine a dreary-dull atmosphere with far-fetched plot beats: New York in the rain, disfigured heroine, brooding protagonist on one side; intricate revenge plan, grandiose crime bosses, rat torture, pickup crashing into a house on the other.  Director Niels Arden Oplev is best-known for the Swedish The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo film, but there’s a mild-mannered lack of edge to his style that make the film a bit boring to watch despite its outlandish elements.  Everything’s gray and grimy… except for Noomi Rapace, looking good despite being supposedly disfigured to a point where kids shout “Monster!” at her.  Dead Man Down surely won’t make waves or history despite finding a few interesting shooting locations near New York City: it’s a bit too sedate for the wild story it’s trying to tell, and not quite deep enough to masquerade as a character drama beyond the shootouts.  At best, it’s a competent time-waster, the kind of thriller you find late at night and can’t find any better choice.

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