BluRay/DVD Reviews

I’LL SLEEP WHEN I’M DEAD

By • Nov 16th, 2004 •

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The Plot: When his brother dies under mysterious circumstances, a London gangster decides to investigate.

Sound familiar? It should. If GET CARTER springs to mind then it will come as no surprise that this movie comes from the same director.

In this case it’s a retired gangster called Will Graham, played by Owen (KING ARTHUR, CROUPIER, SIN CITY), who has severed all contact with his gangster past and lives in anonymity, travelling, and living, from place to place, and job to job, in a battered old van. When his younger brother Davey (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers – GORMENGHAST) commits suicide by cutting his throat while fully clothed in a bathtub, Will determines to get to the bottom of it – the mystery that is, not the bathtub – and returns to his old territory, much to the consternation of those who have taken over in his absence.

Despite being introduced to several well-defined characters and the London Underworld scene itself unnervingly captured, both feats I have to say masterfully achieved with minimal dialogue and extrapolation, GET CARTER this ain’t. The whole thing is minimalist theatre. As Hodges (also CROUPIER, FLASH GORDON, MURDER BY NUMBERS) himself admits in his commentary, he savoured the Long Take, which he felt allowed his actors to explore their particular scenes, as opposed to the usual cutting from character to character (a technique he compares to watching Wimbledon). Unfortunately many of them are VERY long takes and you can’t help wishing that they’d hurry it along a little. Clive Owen appears to be sleepwalking his way through the role instead of evoking the troubled intensity of his character, and is miles away from his riveting performance in SIN CITY. Rampling, though looking good, is also sullen as his ex-love, supposedly conveying a wealth of emotion with her eyes, emotion which I’m afraid I couldn’t see – she, like Owen, just seemed half asleep. McDowell in his short screen time is as always effortlessly scene-grabbing, and Sylvia Syms (fellow old-timers will remember her as the eye-candy in ICE COLD IN ALEX) can still show the youngsters a few things about the art – she is superb. Give this woman more work.

All in all, considering the ensemble cast, and with it’s typical Hodges’ style anticlimactic and enigmatic ending, this well-intentioned film fails to live up to it’s initial promise.


Directed by Mike Hodges

Cast:
Clive Owen
Charlotte Rampling
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers
Malcolm McDowell
Jamie Foreman
Ken Stott
Sylvia Syms

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