I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

***

Reviewed by: Trinity

Will Graham has been gone three years, having disappeared from the London scene leaving behind friends and family. When his little brother is found dead in his bathtub, apparently from suicide, will he return to seek vengeance?

Opening and closing on a scene of a man hitting golfballs into the sea, Mike Hodges' film is more a study of personal conflict than a straight gangland revenge movie. Graham (Clive Owen), trying to escape his past, has embraced the wilderness in an attempt to keep his sanity. In doing so, he has explicitly cut his ties and support for his family, but in the end these bonds are still there, just hidden.

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This is one reason why the film is not as watchable as it should be. We never truly get to know any of the characters, so we don't feel much when things happen to them, which they certainly do by the end.

Hodges and Owen re-team after the American success of Croupier and it must be said that this is a far better effort. However, they still fall into the fatal trap of thinking that slow and sparse dialogue is enough to create an enigmatic ambiance. In particular, Owen is fine when looking moody, but not so good when given dialogue - it seems too staged, too deliberate. The supporting cast is variable: Charlotte Rampling and Jonathan Rhys Meyer are believable and dynamic; Ken Stott and Malcolm McDowall put in stock performances, but lesser names are guilty of over-egging their caricatures.

A thoughtful insight into the difficulties of city living, but ultimately not enough cold hearted vengeance to keep you interested.

Reviewed on: 23 Aug 2003
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Director: Mike Hodges

Writer: Trevor Preston

Starring: Clive Owen, Charlotte Rampling, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Malcolm McDowell, Ken Stott, Jamie Foreman, Sylvia Syms, Alexander Morton, Damian Dibben, Geoff Bell

Year: 2003

Runtime: 104 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK

Festivals:

EIFF 2003

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