Colin Farrell Film 'Dead Man Down' Gripping Despite Plot Holes

Colin Farrell filming a scene in Dead Man Down in Philadelphia last spring

Dead Man Down, the Colin Farrell crime drama filmed in Philadelphia throughout spring 2012, opens this weekend. Though locals will thrill to see their hometown’s sights – co-star Terrence Howard included – and ruminate over Noomi Rapace’s haunting performance, the Dead Man Down experience wasn’t always a pleasant one.

Danish director Niels Arden Oplev, the man behind the original film version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in 2009 (with Rapace as its star) paints a grim urban backdrop for Dead Man Down: low lit warehouses, restaurants and back rooms through which crime lord Alphonse Hoyt (Howard) and his brooding employee Victor (Farrell) exist.

From the start, viewers see that everything is not paradise for Hoyt and his crew. Someone is marking him and his gang for murder – someone who sends Hoyt and Co. photos with their eyes blacked out and who stuffs their remains into freezers. "Who" and "why" comes down to a matter of revenge, with reasons that slowly unfurl - that’s what makes Dead Man Down gripping. A double revenge fantasy concocted by Victor’s neighbor Beatrice (Rapace) after a car accident ruins her face draws the viewer into a complicated relationship between these star-crossed characters. Each has deep emotional scars; each is as disconnected from the world as they are themselves, until messy, murderous fate brings them together.

That’s the good part, a distance and a reasoned disenchantment that forces the ruined pair into cahoots. But too many plot holes (What’s with the long wait to avenge the crimes? What does Dominic Cooper’s character hope to gain with all his poking around?) often let Dead Man down.

Read our previous Dead Man Down coverage:

Photo ©Scott Weiner

Posted on Friday, March 8, 2013