I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

on June 16, 2004 by Kevin Courrier
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Director Mike Hodges is trafficking in the same hard-boiled revenge territory as "The Limey" and "Payback," but without any of the style or humor of either of those pictures. "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" is minimalist pulp that's been overcooked. Davey (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) is a small-time drug dealer who one night gets raped, then goes home and kills himself. His brother, Will (Clive Owen), is an ex-gangster who now works in the country where he chops logs and lives like Grizzly Adams. When Will finds out about his brother's death, he comes home to seek retribution.

"I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" is so inconsequential that you never understand why Will left the criminal clan behind. The reasons given for the brother's rape are also so thin that it's pure screenwriter desperation. Clive Owen, who gave a tip-top performance in Hodges' last picture, "Croupier," is buried under hair until the last half-hour when he finally comes to life. By that time, you'll either be asleep or have vacated the theatre. Starring Clive Owen, Charlotte Rampling, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Malcolm McDowell. Directed by Mike Hodges. Written by Trevor Preston. Produced by Mike Kaplan and Michael Corrente. A Paramount Classics release. Drama. Rated R for language, a rape scene, violent images and brief drug use. Running time: 102 min

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