Extra Cinema: Dead Man Down (15)

editorial image

Starring: Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Dominic Cooper, Terrence Howard, Isabelle Huppert, James Biberi.

Director: Niels Arden Oplev.

Running time: 118 mins

Like so many European film-makers, Niels Arden Oplev has answered Hollywood’s siren song.

The Danish director was showered with plaudits for his work on the original Scandinavian version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Dead Man Down reunites Oplev with his fearless leading lady Noomi Rapace for a slow-burning revenge thriller punctuated by explosions of outlandish violence.

There are holes in JH Wyman’s script which are never plugged, however, Oplev’s cool direction and strong performances paper over the cracks.

The film opens with kingpin Alphonse Hoyt (Terrence Howard) viewing the lifeless body of a henchman.

Hoyt doesn’t know who is targeting him, or why, and he places his trust in sharp shooter Victor (Colin Farrell).

Little does the kingpin know that Victor is the assassin who has wormed his way into the operation and befriended henchman Darcy (Dominic Cooper) to avenge his murdered wife and child.

Having set his trap, Victor returns home alone to his apartment.

He stares into a neighbouring block and makes eye contact with a young woman, Beatrice (Noomi Rapace), who lives with mother Valentine (Isabelle Huppert).

The beautician engineers a meeting with Victor and they embark on a first date.

At the end of the evening, Beatrice tells Victor that she has evidence of him killing a man and will happily withhold the video footage from police if Victor agrees to kill the drunk driver who disfigured her.

Dead Man Down is gripping.Sexual chemistry between the leads simmers thanks to a spirited performance from Rapace, tinged with dry humour.

Oplev takes time fleshing out the characters and their motivations, but he invariably has to deliver slam bang thrills to justify the 30 million-dollar budget, which makes the overall movie a little disjointed.

However, still a superior film.

Rating: 4/5