I'll Sleep When I'm DeadClosed Captioning
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For I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, director Mike Hodges re-teams with Trevor Preston, the respected British television writer with whom he made a series of documentaries for ITV back in the 1960s. The film also brings the director together again with actor Clive Owen, the star of his previous film, Croupier, which signaled Hodges' resurgence. Owen plays Will Graham, a former London gangster who moved out to the country after suffering a breakdown of some sort. Will works clearing forests, and lives out of his van, until he loses his job over a lack of proper documentation. Meanwhile, Will's younger brother, Davey, is enjoying his life as a womanizing man about town, and dabbling in drug dealing, until one night, when an older man, Boad (Malcolm McDowell), has him followed and brutally assaults him. The traumatized Davey returns home and takes his own life. Will, uncertain as to where to go, finds himself drawn back to London, where he learns of Davey's death from Mrs. Barz (Sylvia Syms), his landlady. Will investigates what happened that night with his old friend, Mickser (Jamie Foreman). As Will tries to piece together what happened, he goes to visit Helen (Charlotte Rampling), his former lover, who is less than thrilled to see him after he abandoned her years earlier and eventually cut off all contact. The current neighborhood crime boss, Turner (Ken Stott), knows what Will is capable of, and sees him as a threat. Eventually, Will uncovers the truth, and is faced with the unpleasant prospect of avenging Davey's death. Screenwriter Preston took the title for the film from a sardonic song by the late Warren Zevon.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 86
- Fresh: 37
- Rotten: 49
- Average Rating: 5.5/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Rotten: A consciously anti-dramatic, contempo Western, set in Wales and London, in which echoes of oaters ring loud but without much resonance.
Fresh: Mood and portent can conceal any number of flaws in movies about the thug life.
Rotten: Feels undernourished in plot, characterization, and dialogue, and what should play with minimalist high tension is allowed to sag lower and lower until it simply grounds out.
Fresh: A tight, well-made, evocative piece of filmmaking for true connoisseurs of gangster movies that is unnerving, yet completely sure of every step it takes.
Mike Hodges = overlooked genius
Influential British director Mike Hodges (the original 'Get Carter') is back in bizness here with an amazing cast for this dark revenge film. Sure, it's slower paced and those with Hollywood-addled attention spans won't be up for it... but its themes are complex and Owen is fantastic.
Excellent, but subtle
This is a masterful film, but one destined to frustrate many viewers because it is so extremely subtle in every way. Clive Owen plays a cold, lethal London criminal who left the city to lead a more peaceful and reclusive life, but returns to administer justice after a heinous crime is committed against his brother (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Don't expect Man on Fire-style explosive action, this cinematic revenge dish is definitely served cold. A dense, mysterious atmosphere with many quiet and introspective character moments and only fleeting bursts of violence. You will either be entranced by the film's cool tone and deliberate pace and Owen's understated-but-intense performance (as I was) or you will be bored out of your mind, hoping for an epic, slow motion-filled shootout or metal-crunching car chase which will never come.
Wow, a Bridge to Nowhere
Yes, all the acting is great. Yes, it is moody and "understated". Yes it is a movie that tells a good story and then yes, it doesn't really have an ending! A good revenge flick is only good if there is a climax, a good release of the pressure and the emotion. This movie did not have that. Kind of just drops you off and leaves you standing wondering why you went for the ride in the first place. Sad, cause I was really with them until I realized they didn't have an ending and then I just felt cheated. Too many story lines left unfinished. Too many questions left un-answered. Too many characters left in a 1 dimensional quagmire. Oh, and the title does't make any sense at all and has nothing to do with the film.