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 fallen off the planet as far as his old friends are concerned. Three years earlier, he left a life of borderline organized crime and lit out for the territories (as Mr. Finn would say). Back in London, his brother Davey (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is a petty criminal and hale-fellow-well-met who runs afoul of another, much more invested criminal played by Malcolm McDowell who decides to show his power over the younger lad by raping him. This leads to Davey committing suicide. Quite by accident, Will decides to come back to London—at this point he finds out about his brother and the boring story becomes a revenge story.
This movie is a gray disappointment. Much of the music in it is experimental jazz, and like that (a form of music I neither like nor understand), the movie meanders without much really driving it beyond a sad little revenge story that could be handled in 48 minutes with commercials on both ends. The cast, Mr. Owen, Mr. Rhys Meyers and, one of my favorites, Charlotte Rampling, I would expect there to be something to hold on to. They try their best, but a bad script and a poor story cannot be rescued by any number of brilliant actors.
Along with being meandering and almost meaningless, it is predictable to a fault. This seems like a contradiction, but given the general notion that it is just a simple revenge tale told with little fury and not that much sound, the contradiction exists in logic only.
I wanted to like this film. The cast contains three actors whose work I have admired for a long time. Every actor makes at least one turkey in her or his career, in this case, three of them did it at the same time. It’s a bit like I Love You to Death--that movie was supposed to be a comedy but turned out to be more of a tragic mistake. In both movies, A-List actors did their best to rescue, forgive the mixed metaphor, a dying patient, but no matter what it is they tried, it just never worked.
Sleep and death come to mind most looking back on the film since it has nothing compelling about the second and makes you fight the first to find this out.
What did you think of this review?