Dead Man Down has a strong cast and vaguely compelling characterizations, but it ultimately fails to thrill. That’s an important element of a thriller. The movie sets up some interesting situations between Farrell and Rapace; the idea of blackmail and a double-revenge story seems too great for its own good. It falls flat because it doesn’t understand the fundamentals of realism in film: characters need to have motivations when telling a morality tale, and they also need to have engaging conversations. A lot of the film simply drags, though, and the ending leads to some real absurdity that doesn’t pay off in the slightest. This is a film grounded in mediocrity, until it stoops a bit lower with a remarkably bad ending.
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