I'LL SLEEP WHEN I'M DEAD
Review by Gordon Justesen
Clive Owen, Charlotte Rampling, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Malcolm McDowell
Director: Mike Hodges
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: See Review
Length: 103 Minutes
Release Date: November 16, 2004
at what I've become. I sometimes don't talk to another living soul for days, or
trust no one, nothing. It's grief for a life wasted."
Mike Hodges, who
could very much be considered the Martin Scorsese of Britain, made one of the
most popular revenge thrillers with 1971's Get
Carter. Although the plot outline of Hodges' latest piece, I'll
Sleep When I'm Dead, isn't all that different from the earlier film, it does
happen to carry a much darker, sinister edge. The result is one of the more
chilling and effective crime thrillers I've seen in recent memory.
By first glance at
the movie's opening segments, we're not quite sure where this story is headed.
It opens with a character named Davey (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), a likeable lad
who's also a hard partier and a drug dealer. After swinging from party to party,
and enjoying a love fling with a beauty, is set up by some hoods, taking into an
alley, and becomes the victim of a horrifying and brutal act.
Not too long after
this incident, young Davey is so traumatized by the incident that he goes home
and commits suicide. The lad's death catches the attention of friends and
colleagues. More importantly, it becomes something of a bigger issue once older
brother, Will Graham (Clive Owen), discovers for himself.
Will has led a
socially isolated life for the past three years. At one point, he was the
deadliest and most intimidating mob enforcer to walk the streets of London. He
gave up the profession for a more quiet life in the English countryside, working
as a tree laborer. His brother's death has clearly given him more than enough
reason to consider returning to his roots.
return to the city stirs up some uneasiness in some who knew him in his prime.
He soon hooks up with his former crew of dispatchers to help get some answers.
Though this advantage should play a role in getting the attention of the culprit
responsible for the assault on his brother, a local car dealer named Boad
(Malcolm McDowell); it will take an act of confrontation to get the man shaking
in his boots.
The main attraction
here is the stellar performance of lead Clive Owen. Owen is a big star overseas,
and is already being considered to step in as the next James Bond, in addition
to Jude Law; I couldn't see any other actor doing the role justice better than
Owen. Aside from starring in another crime thriller from director Hodges, Croupier,
Owen has also gained some notice here in the states, with roles in The Bourne Identity and most recently, the heavily underrated King
What Owen does in
this film is construct a masterful performance through subtle emotion. Will is a
man of few words, whose soul is overcome with guilt for the life he has leaded.
When he accepts that he must extract revenge, we completely understand why it
must be done. Owen's final confrontation with McDowell is a striking and
revealingly powerful moment.
Though I must say
that I wasn't prepared for the disturbing elements delivered here, I can easily
say that it serves the purpose of the revenge plot as very well fitting. This
is, at best, not a movie for the faint of heart.
anamorphic presentation of this moody crime piece is extremely well handled. The
best moments come in the sequences set in around downtown London, which is all
done mostly at night. Despite slight softness in other numerous darkly lit
scenes, I give this presentation credit for making the most of what could've
easily been a flawed delivery.
Since the film is
essentially a dialogue-heavy piece, there's only so much that the 5.1 mix can
work with. However, the dialogue delivery is very well executed, and is
ultimately clear, while several set pieces allow for some nice dynamically
leveled surround sound.
Only a helping of
bonus trailers for additional Paramount titles which precede the movie.