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I'll Sleep When I'm Dead [Import]

Clive Owen , Malcolm McDowell , Mike Hodges    R (Restricted)   DVD
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the best plot ever. Nov. 22 2006
Format:DVD
This DVD has been sitting on my shelf for a good year now and I still feel the same way as I did when I watched it. It could have been a lot better. The acting was reasonably good and the actors are decent; however the plot leaves something to be desired. The most engaging action happened in the first twenty minutes or so, and the remainder of the DVD seemed to drag on and on as my friends and I waited for some kind of conclusion. I'll keep it rather than pitch it in the bin simply because it does have some good actors and the inkling of a good plot, but I wouldn't recommend the film for a casual viewer to buy on a lark.
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Amazon.com: 2.9 out of 5 stars  62 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'll Sleep When I'm Done This Review Jan. 13 2007
By Alistair McHarg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Hard to understand why people are not getting this terrific movie. In Croupier, also starring Owens, Mike Hodges evoked a brooding, existential London sub-culture where motives were always unclear and character was never divided between good and evil. Croupier was slow, wonderful to watch, and oozed irrational malice. It drew viewers in just as the unholy lure of gambling draws in prospective addicts.

In I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, Hodges weaves the same gossamer spell. There is little story, plenty of characters, but very little character development. These people don't follow a traditional formula; they bump into each other like boats in a harbor - just like real life. The cinematography, music, and overall vibe create a classic modern noir sensibility, and like the best noir, there is no underpinning of justice or rationality to make us feel good about how things turn out. Admittedly, these characters are sketched, not painted, but it is amazing how much we can surmise from just a few carefully selected details.

Most wonderful of all, this is a cynical gangster picture with almost no violence. (Lesser practitioners of moviemaking please take note!) The sense of dread, of impending doom, is where it should be, inside the viewer's imagination. Unlike other reviewers who were dissatisfied with McDowell's motivation, I thought it was inspired - so frequently the most hideous injustices are dished out for reasons no nobler than personal insecurities and jealousy.

Owen is always worth watching, regardless. Here he is surrounded by major talent, Malcolm McDowell and Charlotte Rampling. Both are under-utilized, shall we say, but it's always nice to see them. Rampling, nearly 60, looks amazing, still a real beauty with a fragile yet compelling persona. If you'd like to see her tear the scenery apart, check out The Night Porter.

When Will gets his shave and suits up for the hit, was anybody else reminded of that wonderful scene in Cat Ballou when Lee Marvin puts on his best gunslinger outfit (with scarf!) to take on the man with a tin nose?
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wanted to like it. March 17 2005
By William Entrekin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Is "moody thriller" synonymous with "goes nowhere"? I'd really hoped to like this movie, I like Clive Owen a great deal, enjoy Charlotte Rampling, and love both Malcolm McDowell and Jonathan Rhys-Myers, but there's nothing to hold onto in this movie. Nothing that engages you. None of the characters gave me any reason to care about them (except Rhys-Myers, but he dies in the first five-ten minutes. And I cared about his death. But not about any of the people it "affected").

It seems like it's trying to build for something, and, ultimately, yes, Will gets his revenge, but, really, motivation? Why did anyone in this movie do anything? McDowell's character (whose name I didn't even care enough to remember) had no motivation to bugger the boy, and there's an entire side-sub-plot involving guys that don't want Will in town that remains useless.

Overall, a huge disappointment.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Were they asleep when they made this? Dec 30 2004
By Brandon Whitfeld - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
One of the most luckluster and spineless entries into the British gangster genre made, ironically enough, by a filmmaker who defined it all several decades ago. See Get Carter, the original version, if you want to see stylish grace executed with poisonous aplomb and bitter vigor. Not a great film, but if you like this kind of stuff, you can't beat Michael Caine.

Clive Owen may be the first actor in cinema history to embark through an entire film project utilizing a single facial expression. Then again, he doesn't have much to go on; here's the basic plot: (if you think I might spoil something, then don't read ahead, although we find out all this stuff in the first 20 minutes or so).

Bad evil former gangster now retired hides in woods doing manual labor. He is evil, but now out of the lifestyle, and you can tell this because he's bearded, doesn't talk much, and has a glassy-eyed expression.

Bad gangster's younger brother is a man-about-town drugrunner, midlevel scumbag, who gets pulled into a warehouse and raped by Malcolm McDowell. Younger brother, dazed, startled, wanders home, and fittingly, commits suicide. Wouldn't you? He's one of the lucky ones.

Then we watch slowly, relentlessly, as Clive returns from hiding, finds out all this stuff that we already know, is given bare patchy explanatory mumbo-jumbo from other characters, and then kills who he needs to kill.

Visually dull, completely un-stylish, and utterly pointless. Everyone involved clearly wasn't sleeping enough, or was sleeping way too much. What else can I say? Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who I usually like, is wasted here, as is McDowell, who looks a bit put out to be involved in this at all. Even Charlotte Rampling turns up, in another absurdly superfluous character.

Sorry guys, really wanted to like this one. Didn't.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Atmosphere, Revenge, and Poor Characterizations. Nov. 17 2004
By mirasreviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
"I'll Sleep When I'm Dead " is a moody, atmospheric revenge film that takes place among the trainspotters and swank bosses of the criminal underworld. Will Graham (Clive Owen) is a reclusive ex-con who feels impelled to resume his old ways to avenge his brother David's (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) violent death. "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" has more style than substance. Clive Owen is always charismatic, but here he is less so than usual. The audience simply doesn't know enough about Will to wrap it's mind around. Charlotte Rampling and Malcolm McDowell round out a talented cast, but their roles are too small to provide anything but glimpses of their characters. The film takes an awfully long time to arrive at the main story, and once it does, produces very little of substance in its characters or themes. It seems cursory, as if a better film might be found below the surface of this one. -Perhaps if the dialogue were improved and more time were spent on character development instead of the lead-in. "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" isn't altogether bad. It has some intriguing moments. But even for Clive Owen fans, this film's a bit flat. There are no bonus features on the DVD. Subtitles are available in English.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First Rate Revenge Thriller Which Moves Deliberately July 26 2005
By C. O. DeRiemer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Davey Graham (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is a charming young opportunist who deals a bit in drugs, beds the socialites he sells to and takes money from their purses. He seems to be leading a happy, careless London life until late one night, leaving the bed and the apartment of a wealthy young woman, he is grabbed by two men and hustled into an alley. There, a third man, older and contemptuous (Malcolm McDowell), tears down Davey's' trousers. While the two goons hold Davey over some tires, the man inexplicably rapes him. Davey staggers back to his apartment, fills the tub with cold water and sinks into it fully dressed. Ten hours later, still in the tub, Davey cuts his throat. The rest of this stylish, glum noir tells the story of Davey's older brother Will (Clive Owen). Will had been a feared enforcer for the London mobs but had dropped out three years before and disappeared, living in a camper and doing manual labor. He feels he has wasted his life and now lives alone. When he learns of his brother's death, and learns of the rape, Will is determined to find the man responsible and wreak his own form of justice. And when he returns to London, he finds the gang leaders don't like it.

Mike Hodges directed the great Get Carter with Michael Caine and the near great Croupier, also with Owen. He does a fine job here. Hodges doesn't waste a lot of time on narrative, so you have to pay attention. You also need to fill in a little background on your own, which keeps the movie interesting. The story line is all about revenge. The film sets its own pace and moves relentlessly. The look of the movie is first-rate. It's neo-noir, all dark shadows, sullen, tough or sad characters and barely repressed violence. When violence does happen, it's startling. Clive Owen has little to say in the movie. He acts with his eyes. Malcolm McDowell has a hammer-lock on contemptuous disdain; he doesn't have much time on screen, but what there is, is noteworthy.

I liked the movie a lot, even though it sets a deliberate pace. Stay with it and you'll be rewarded. The DVD presentation is excellent. There are no extras.
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