Niels Oplev

Dead Man Down

Last week saw the English debut from Korean director Park Chan-Wook, and now with Dead Man Down we’re seeing another American feature from an acclaimed foreign director, Niels Arden Oplev (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Park evaporated any fear of him losing his personality in America thanks to the visually spectacular Stoker. His fingerprints are all over that film, and it’s a shame the same cannot be said for Oplev. While a high-minded Oplev appears every now and then in Dead Man Down, he is overshadowed by the tropes we expect from a WWE movie. When their logo came on screen, audience members laughed, and for good reason. Given what WWE is famous for, one would expect a great deal of machismo from Dead Man Down. The film’s more action-heavy moments are unsurprisingly its greatest strength, but that WWE sensibility seriously clashes with the drama Oplev and his cast are aiming for. The two tones never mesh coherently, leading to an uneven revenge movie.

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There was a major opportunity for Terrence Howard to blow up some scenery and do some violent mustache twirling in Dead Man Down. Mind you, Howard does shout, “I got something for your ass!” when a mansion becomes an overpriced shooting gallery in the film, but that’s as far as the actor goes when it comes to getting his hands silly. It makes sense, considering playing pure evil doesn’t seem like a role Howard would ever want to try out. Speaking with the Academy Award nominated actor, he sees his characters, even a villain like Alphonse, through a philosophical light, noting that “the past, the present, and the future” are happening right now, as he discussed using pieces of himself for a character. Despite the fact Howard was minutes away from boarding a flight, he was kind enough to make time discussing his relationship with his characters, how he proved Juilliard wrong, and more about his newest movie:

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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