9 March 2013 | ferguson-6
Double Dose of Revenge
Greetings again from the darkness. On the surface, this looks like just another early season crime thriller. From that perspective, it works well enough. However, there are some elements that add complexity and interest, and set this one above the usual. It's directed by Niels Arden Oplev who was responsible for the original (and very cool) Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This looks to be his first English language feature and he re-teams with the exciting and talented Noomi Rapace.
The film begins with a body in the freezer, and crime boss Alphonse (Terrence Howard) and his crew solving the mystery of who killed his friend and associate. Someone has been tormenting Alphonse with little clues and he falls right into the trap of jumping to conclusions. One member of his crew is Victor (Colin Farrell). We slowly learn more about Victor thanks to an awkward and slow connection between he and his neighbor Beatrice (Ms. Rapace). Their initial acknowledgment of each other is an exchange of waves between balconies. It's an effective visual.
The movie bounces between crime thriller and romantic/love story. The added fun of secret missions from both Victor and Beatrice provide the twist this one needs. Actually there are 4-5 exceptional scenes in the movie which make up for the often plodding pace ... not typically a good thing for a thriller. The pieces are greater than the whole, but that doesn't mean it's not an interesting watch.
In addition to Farrell, Rapace and Howard, we get some really enjoyable support work from Dominic Cooper, Isabelle Huppert and F Murray Abraham. Ms. Huppert in particular adds a touch of class and humor, and her character could have easily been expanded ... same for Mr. Abraham. Cooper plays an idealistic, but not so observant buddy to Victor and loyal crew member of Howard.
This one reminds at times of a couple of Mel Gibson revenge flicks: Payback and Edge of Darkness. What really helps here is the strength of the cast and unusual scars of Victor and Beatrice. A slightly tighter script and improved pacing would have jumped this one a level or two.