I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (2003)

R   |    |  Crime, Drama, Mystery

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (2003) Poster

A former gangster reenters the criminal underworld after his brother suspiciously commits suicide.




  • Jonathan Rhys Meyers
  • Clive Owen in I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (2003)
  • Mike Hodges in I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (2003)
  • Clive Owen in I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (2003)
  • Charlotte Rampling in I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (2003)
  • Clive Owen in I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (2003)

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27 February 2005 | Anonymous_Maxine
| Odd Freudian evaluation with a little revenge mixed in.
I found it interesting that the first review I noticed of this movie on the IMDb claimed in the subject line that "You'll sleep at this movie," because I rented it last night and watched it at my brother's house, and he was literally asleep within minutes. His lack of consciousness, however, probably can't be chalked up to the almost intolerable slowness of this movie because I don't think he made it past the opening credits. I managed to stay awake fairly well, despite the routine story presented in the film and the almost complete lack of any action. It has to be among the most drab thrillers ever made.

Clive Owen, probably now known mostly as King Arthur in the also disappointing King Arthur, plays Will, the guy who has Returned From Retirement to avenge the death of his brother, Davey, which was a suicide but which Will believes he was driven to commit. Davey is played by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (not to be confused with John Rhys-Davies) in the brief amount of screen time that he spends alive, and for most of the rest of the movie Will Takes Matters Into His Own Hands to investigate what caused his brother's suicide.

The biggest problem with the movie is not that it's anticlimactic or even that it is such an overall cliché, the problem is that Owen snoozes though the movie in a stolid, half-lidded performance, almost like he's trying to stay awake. Kind of like Sylvester Stallone in Copland. There are times when he is confronted with what must have been extremely painful possibilities about what most likely occurred in the last hours of his brother's life, and he is completely expressionless.

This is a nitpicky complaint, I guess, but it seems to me that an ex-gangster would have registered some kind of rage while learning about how his brother was driven to sit in a bathtub for 12 hours and then cut his throat. Here's an example: in one scene Will is talking to the doctor who performed the autopsy, and he is told that there is evidence that his brother was raped, as well as a disturbing possibility that he may have involuntarily ejaculated, can I say that here? Anyway, Will stares blankly at the doctor during the explanation, then when the doctor stops talking he looks at him and says, "What are you talking about?" What, was he not paying attention?

Maybe it's just bad screen writing or maybe the way the character was written just didn't flow with me, but whatever the case, the rest of the movie is a slow plod through revenge movie clichés that never even tries to do anything new. The movie goes into great detail about the possibilities of the circumstances surrounding Davey's rape and the hours that followed, but it pays more attention to the possibilities of its psychological impact on him than it does to developing any momentum or creating interesting characters. As a standard revenge film, it at least adds depth to the meaning of the rape itself, but the rest of the movie suffers because of it. It would almost make a better educational film than a thriller.

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