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Dead Man Down

6/10

Stars: Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Terrence Howard, Dominic Cooper, Isabelle Huppert, F Murray Abraham, Armand Assante, James Biberi

Director: Niels Arden Oplev

This violent, sometimes jumbled crime thriller would certainly qualify as film noir, with a lone man surrounded by danger and looking to buck the odds as he seeks vengeance. And it is also about lost souls.

Vic (Farrell), is a Hungarian-born engineer who saw his wife and children shot down by Albanian thugs hired by lethal crime kingpin Alphonse (Howard), because they alone refused to vacate their apartment to allow him to take over a building. Now Vic (then Laszlo) has lost his Hungarian accent and joined Alphonse's gang as part of his revenge plan.

Across the block from Vic's flat live Béatrice (Rapace) and her mother (Huppert, still delicately sexy). The girl is disfigured after being hit by a driver who got off lightly and, having seen Vic strangle a gang member, uses her knowledge in an attempt to blackmail him into killing the motorist responsible for her badly scarred face.

You may think all this highly unlikely, and indeed it is; less plausible plots, however, have still got by, and appealing performances, coupled with bursts of heavy-artillery action, help see this one through. Director Oplev though (who made the original version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), does takes the downbeat drama a mite too slowly at times, as Vic's final plan for the gangs, American and Albanian, to eliminate each other nears fruition. There is, naturally, a snag to this, though the writers stretch our credulity just about as far as it will go to achieve their blazing showdown.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Entertainment One. Colour.
116 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 27 Apr 2013