Before David Fincher got to show us his “feel bad movie of the year”, Niels Arden Oplev was already doing it (some would argue better) with the original Swedish adaptation for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It introduced the world to Noomi Rapace in a ridiculously powerful performance, but since most of the filmgoing world is apparently allergic to reading subtitles, there are many that missed out on their collaboration.
But the pair are back together again and they’ve brought a rowdy Irishman with them this time.
“Dead Man Down” is an action thriller that stars Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace as two strangers whose mutual desire for revenge draws them together and triggers an escalating trail of mayhem. The film, which also stars Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard and Dominic Cooper, marks the American theatrical debut of director Niels Arden Oplev (the original “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”).
While I’ve always preferred Noomi Rapace’s performance as Lisbeth Salander in the original Dragon Tattoo over Rooney Mara’s in the remake, I won’t deny that Fincher’s version had far better production values than Oplev’s essentially made for TV effort. But now with Dead Man Down it looks like Oplev is finally also being given the bigger toys to play with, and it’s looking pretty good. I love the Dredd-like slow-mo shootouts and that Hitchcockian zoom down the spiral staircase, also the musical cues in the trailer are really interesting and something that I hope gets carried through to the full movie. I’m still not quite sold on the villainous efficacy of Terence Howard, but that’s a minor quibble when everything else looks this promising.