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I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

A movie directed by Mike Hodges

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A Dark, Brooding Insight into Vengeance and Revenge

  • Nov 18, 2004
Rating:
+3
Mike Hodges respects his audience: rarely does he forget that viewers have the intelligence to piece together the puzzles he creates. Though his films have memorable characters, those characters are enhanced more by what is not said about them than superfluous dialogue and proscenium staging. And while this approach to film making does require participation, the end result is well worth the journey.

Early on in the film we encounter Will Graham (Clive Owen), a disheveled loner who lives out in the country in the back of a van. There is something sinister about this man but there is also something intangibly innocent. We gradually learn that he has been away from a life in the underbelly of London, making little to no contact with his lover (Charlotte Rampling) or his younger brother Davey (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers).

Flash into the midst of Davey's comings and goings as a minor drug dealer and gigolo and we see the grimy world Will has left behind. Out late one night on a drug deal and female servicing gig, Davey tries to find his way back to his lowlife flat (his landlady is the amazing Sylvia Sims!), but in the process he is chased and captured and raped by a wealthy car dealer (Malcolm McDowell). Decimated, he finds his way home, sits in his bathtub fully clothed, and commits suicide.

When Will is informed of Davey's suicide, he returns to London and with the help of his old gang and lover, he sets on a track of trying to understand why Davey committed suicide, only to pursue the perpetrator to a grisly end.

There are no secrets to the plot - it is all in the first few minutes. The pleasure of this darkly written, photographed, edited and scored film is in the acting and the collaboration Hodges requires of the viewer. Less is more, here, and for those who enjoy film noir, this is a very strong movie. Grady Harp, November 2004

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More I'll Sleep When I'm Dead reviews
review by . February 26, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: It promises good acting with a great cast      Cons: It fails on all fronts to deliver anything but boredom.      The Bottom Line: This is a big steaming cup of don't bother.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plo I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead has two words in it that describe this film and they should be pretty obvious.      Will Graham (Clive Owen) has …
review by . April 10, 2005
The title of the review just about says it all. This movie gets off to a bit of a slow start. For the first forty minutes you're watching what seems to be a series of unrelated, unfortunate events. Then, everything falls into place and the pleasantly balanced ensemble cast allows you to fall into London's underbelly for an hour of mystery and intrigue surrounding the suicide of Davey (Rhys-Meyers). His older brother, Will (Clive Owen), once a prominent figure in London's crime community has been …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #97
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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Wiki

Mike Hodges and Clive Owen, director and star of the stylish 1998 crime dramaCroupier, team again in this moody, almost contemplative thriller about a former gangster, Will Graham (Owen), who returns to London after a lengthy self-exile. In a tragic coincidence, Will's brother, Davey (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), has just committed suicide following a rape by a wealthy car dealer (Malcolm McDowell). Convinced there is more to Davey's death than meets the eye, Will--arguing he is nothing like his old, violent, urban self--slowly evolves again into a formidable criminal. Hodges and screenwriter Trevor Preston emphasize tone and spiritual inference over precise character motivation. Not everything that can be known about Will (especially his rocky psychological state and history with a former lover, played by Charlotte Rampling) is expressly stated. But one can feel his stifled nature rising, paradoxically, toward revenge, and his final actions have an existential power and mystery.--Tom Keogh
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Details

Director: Mike Hodges
Genre: Drama
Release Date: June 18, 2004
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: November 16, 2004
Runtime: 1hr 24min
Studio: Paramount
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