I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
may improve on second viewing. Now that I know what to expect, I won't watch the film full of anticipation waiting for everything to come together at some point. I won't miss characters who appear briefly, get beaten up and then are never heard from again. I won't be disappointed by the fact that Clive Owen is scruffy and bearded for most of the movie. I'll know that Charlotte Rampling is Clive Owen's old girlfriend and not his mother. (Give me a break, it wasn't that far fetched an assumption on my part -- she is 20 years older than him).
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
apparently begs comparison to director Mike Hodge's earlier film Get Carter
, but I've never seen Get Carter
. I have seen Croupier
. Hodges is starting to piss me off by the things he does to Clive Owen. In Croupier
, Owen wears this stupid, stupid hat when he's writer guy, in contrast to his tuxedoed casino guy. Here, he wears plaid. Is this really necessary?
is a fairly basic revenge story -- big brother, a former crime boss who now lives in a van, comes out of hiding to hunt down the man responsible for little brother's death. But this is an anti-climactic, anti-cathartic tale of revenge. It seems fairly standard fare at first -- building tension by withholding information, except that the information is never provided. Backstory is only vaguely suggested. Certain events are never explained. After a lot of set-up, the search for the bad guy resolves neatly and quickly. (Little brother's friend interviews a key witness, who at first, provides little help and then, just before friend leaves, says "Wait, I remember this guy made a phone call." All that's left to do is to beat the guy up to get the name of the bad guy.) The motives of the bad guy (Malcolm McDowell) turn out to be pathetic, mundane and cliched (given his crime). The ending is ambiguous, but that in itself didn't bother me. I actually have a fondness for ambiguous endings. The minimilist story is often accompanied by some fairly clunky diaglogue ("Don't underestimate Will Graham -- he's fiercesome.") Clive Owen makes a speech at the beginning, repeated at the end, and one in the middle when he reunites with Charlotte Rampling, from which I take it that the film is trying to say something existential about man's condition. I'm not sure what, and I'm not sure that any of the ideas of the movie are sufficiently served by the story so that the speeches could be dispensed with.
Still, I didn't exactly dislike the movie. Were I to see it again, it's entirely possible that my response could revolve 180 degrees.