Valdosta Daily Times


March 15, 2013

New ‘Oz the Great’ is pretty good


VALDOSTA — Movie Review: Niels Oplev (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” 2009 Swedish version) is good with movies with an edge, especially when that edge has a dark arc. “Dead Man Down” has a noir genre appeal. The characters are all twisted individuals. This includes Victor, played nicely by Farrell with a subtle intensity.

Victor is part of a syndicate underworld unit led by Alphonse (Howard, who plays devious well). A ruthless man, Alphonse has been getting strange cryptic messages from an unknown person. These messages are coming from Victor who has infiltrated Alphonse’s group for revenge. While Victor’s covert operation commences, the hitman also develops a relationship with Beatrice (Rapace), a mysterious French woman who lives in the apartment near his. Beatrice is on a revenge campaign of her own, and she needs Victor’s help.

Like any good noir screenplay, all the characters have evil intentions, although some of the characters are noble in their intent. Only one character shows any decency in this film— Beatrice’s mother, Valentine Louzon, played notably by talented French actress Huppert.

Farrell, Rapace, Howard and Cooper all have motives that are far from ethical. They are ruthless but their actions work to make this plot fascinating.

Farrell is cunning. He easily makes his characters tangible, and he makes his character’s revenge seeking easily relatable. The guy is no saint, but one can easily understand his motives.

Even under makeup that gives the appearance of scars, Rapace is sexy. She plays this role with a certain charm that works well opposite Farrell. They have an unusual chemistry, but it engages.

As this film nears its conclusion, it loses its smartness. It loiters with plot twists, which are not compelling. In addition, the ending appears abrupt, leaving loose threads. However, this film is intriguingly entertaining.

Grade: B- (Man alive, thumbs up.)

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