Hitman misses mark

Nanjing Night Net

Revenge plot … Colin Farrell in Dead Man Down. Moody and stylish … Dominic Cooper and Colin Farrell.

DEAD MAN DOWN (MA)

★★½

Hoyts Belconnen and Woden, Limelight Tuggeranong

Part love story, part gangster thriller, this is a moody and stylish first Hollywood outing from Niels Arden Oplev (Danish director of the original The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), but Oplev’s bleak Euro-sensibilities and focus on central characters sits uneasily with a convoluted – and at times ludicrously unbelievable – Hollywood revenge plot.

Colin Farrell, who continues to have trouble getting his international career into top gear, plays Victor, a Hungarian hitman who’s infiltrated the gang of crime boss Alphonse (Terrence Howard), in order to avenge the death of his family. Methodical, cool and emotionally closed, Victor has a secret workshop where he does his plotting, carefully studying images of the evil gang that plaster the walls while replaying video clips of his wife and daughter: you know the drill.

But Victor is being watched by a neighbour, Beatrice (Noomi Rapace), and the two form a tentative bond. When she discovers he is a killer for hire, she asks him to take revenge on the man who disfigured her in a drunken car accident. A strange and fascinating relationship builds around their inner pain and need for revenge, with the new feelings that start to emerge between them threatening to undermine their resolve to harm those who caused their grief.

The scenes between Farrell and Rapace show their acting skills and Oplev establishes an intriguing tenderness and depth to the relationship between these two complicated and damaged souls – it’s this that makes the film watchable despite the silliness of the plot. For those after some darker thrills, there are some well-executed action scenes, but J.H. Wyman’s screenplay gets increasingly tedious and obvious.

There are also some obvious questions to be asked, such as: why doesn’t Victor just get revenge when he easily could? And why doesn’t Alphonse recognise Victor? Oh yes, Victor has put on a strange Irish-American-European accent, guaranteed to confuse any paranoid gang boss. And more importantly, what is Isabelle Huppert doing in this film as Beatrice’s deaf French mother? Je ne sais pas.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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