The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2013
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 117 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Dominic Cooper, Terrence Howard, Isabelle Huppert
Directed by: Niels Arden Oplev
Music by: Jacob Groth
Written by: J.H. Wyman
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 9, 2013
Victor (Farrell), a professional killer and the right hand man to an underground crime lord in New York City (Howard), is seduced and blackmailed by Beatrice (Rapace), a crime victim seeking retribution. Their chemistry and intense relationship leads them to execute a violent and cathartic plan for revenge.
I tend to like Colin Farrell’s films but wasn’t especially drawn in by the trailer for Dead man down. Regardless the presence of Noomi Rapace piqued my interest so I was in. The film’s opening would lead one to believe that this film is more or less a shoot ‘em up with a story. Actually it bounces between crime thriller (with elements of action) and an odd character driven piece built around a quest for revenge. There are elements of mystery/suspense as you’re supposed to figure out the “who and why” after being presented with the “what” with the “where/when” still to be revealed. The plot is a little thin in terms of development but the characters are drawn well and fit neatly into the narrative construct. There is an unfolding aspect to the storyline but it isn’t really all that hard to figure out what it occurring and why.
The last piece to the genre pie is a slow simmering romance between Victor and Beatrice that really never quite takes shape but plays an integral role in the proceedings. Dead man down is a bit muddled but does work. It’s an edgy urban crime film with an overly busy context and serious theme but that doesn’t detract from the primary focus which is the interplay among the principle characters and main plot point which is payback. In that I found the layer peeling aspects rewarding despite the obvious hand writing on the wall as I enjoyed seeing how they came to fruition. The climax gets a little silly but truth be told I found myself involved in the build up and rooting for the good guys.
I enjoyed the performances by Noomi Rapace and Colin Farrell and thought that they had solid onscreen chemistry. I like him as an actor but I have never bought Terrence Howard as the heavy, which continues to be the case here as he just isn’t a credible bad ass. Otherwise the remaining supporting players (with the exception of Armand Assante’s withered cameo) are just fine.
Dead man down probably isn’t going to make it to the top ten lists of tried and true film enthusiasts but suspension of belief and a good bag of popcorn goes along way toward making it a decent way to spend an evening.
The rating is for violence, language and a scene of sexuality.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Dead man down comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.3 Mbps.
This is a solid high definition transfer that looks excellent. Images are transparent with exquisite detail and a near infinite sense of depth. Fidelity is never in question regardless of perspective. At times I found the visual style to be engaging. The chromatic range varies depending on the mood of a particular scene and can be underscored with sepia tones, cool bluish green or natural light. That combined with the use of shading, thematic lighting schemes and eclectic cinematography imparts an inordinate and interesting quality. Skin tones among the cast don’t vary much and fall in line with the look of the film. Blacks are inky, dynamic and stable and contrast is boldly applied without overdriving whites/grays and washing out detail. This is a noticeably stylized and impressive high definition video presentation that looked great on my big screen.
The is an excellent DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack that features crystal clear dialogue, powerful dynamics and a subtly aggressive and involving surround sound mix. I was impressed with the implementation of both spacial dimension and discrete directional sounds that created an occasionally immersive listening environment. This worked hand in hand with film’s music, and thematic elements to build tension and help drive the story. Evidence of this can be heard in the opening sequence or finale both of which fill the room with the low level punch of gunfire coupled with a variety of room traversing effects. Be sure to turn this one up when the action kicks in.
- (HD) Revenge & redemption: Crafting Dead man down – 11 minute featurette
- (HD) Revenge technique: The cinematography – 6 minute featurette
- (HD) Staging the action: The firefights – 5 minute featurette
- Bonus DVD
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
Dead man down is a modern day urban crime thriller that could have benefited from a less fragmented script and convoluted theme. While it isn’t a perfect film I found it to be an enjoyable way to spend an evening. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring high quality audio/video presentations mated with a bland supplemental offering that offers a brief look behind the scenes at the production. Dead man down doesn’t qualify as a blind purchase however it’s a decent popcorn flick that deserves a spot in your rental queue.
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