Although there have been quite some interviews – in print and on video – to promote this Friday’s release of “Dead Man Down”, reviews have been surprisingly rare. You would think that a mainstream-looking thriller (judging from the trailer) with Colin Farrell would create a buzz beforehand, but only a few reviews have been published yesterday and today about the film. So far, they come off rather mixed, as you can see from below’s excerpts.
USA Today, Claudia Puig
As a gritty thriller, Dead Man Down doesn’t stand out among its bullet-riddled brethren. It’s more notable for its weird moments and strange obsessions. Two that jump out are a repeated discussion of Tupperware and packs of exceptionally nasty children who attack a mildly scarred woman and tauntingly call her “Monster.” Dead Man Down seeks to come to a final resting place of redemption. But an attempt at an uplifting ending rings hollow after the antics of voracious rats and scores of ammo sent whizzing. Despite a talented international cast, Dead Man Down falls flat.
CBS, Bill Wine
As a dish best served cold, revenge can be a meal in itself. It’s certainly the entrée in the just-deserts drama Dead Man Down, which offers a shaky beginning and ending but a terrific middle. We already know that Rapace is an astonishingly skilled actress and she doesn’t disappoint here, combining moving vulnerability and red-hot anger, while Farrell is impressively expressive with his less-is-more approach to his taciturn character.
The Washington Post, Michael O’Suvillan
In many ways, “Dead Man Down” is a boilerplate revenge thriller. The story of two haunted and damaged loners drawn together by their mutual desire for vengeance (albeit against two different villains) features several of the signature moves of the genre. As she did with “Dragon Tattoo’s” Lisbeth Salander, Rapace brings a convincing intensity to a part that requires her to be, essentially, a kind of gleeful psychopath. Rather than going to therapy, she blackmails Victor into becoming her personal hit man after she spies him killing a stranger on his balcony.
The Huffington Post, Scott Mendelson
Up until the very end of the picture, Dead Man Down is a mostly serviceable crime drama. It has fine work from Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace along with worthwhile supporting turns by Terrance Howard and the always appreciated Domonic Cooper. It doesn’t set out to turn heads or reinvent the wheel, but it tells its grim story of revenge and tortured romance with just enough aplomb to merit a casual viewing.
Just as I was wondering why there is rather little to no promotion on “Dead Man Down”s theatrical release in the USA, regarding reviews and big interviews, I came across Ryan Adams’ article on Awards Daily on how “Dead Man Down” has managed to build buzz without being prominently featured by media outlets before its release. “[…] the buzz is interesting. A controversial youtube video called “Elevator Murder Experiment” has gone viral with over 2.6 million views, and even though 93% of readers responding on Rotten Tomatoes say want to see it there are no legitimate mainstream reviews at all yet on RT or metacritic. Dead Man Down is directed by Niels Arden Oplev, making his American film debut alongside former collaborators Noomi Rapace and composer Jacob Groth who wrote the score for Oplev’s first adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Terrence Howard, Dominic Cooper and Isabelle Huppert lead a top-notch cast. So why the lockdown on reviews? […] part of the answer may be that anticipation for Dead Man Down is building just fine without reviews. The complete article can be read here.