In I'LL SLEEP WHEN I'M DEAD, Willie (Owen), a former mobster, comes back to town after he learns his younger brother Davey (Rhys Myers) has committed suicide. Upon learning that Davey was brutally raped by mobsters, Willi... more »e is determined to seek justice by finding the men who victimized him. While on the search for the mobsters, Willie comes face-to-face with Frank Scott, the local "bad boy" and conflict arises when Frank starts to believe that Willie is back in town to reclaim his status as the town's bad boy.« less
MICHAEL ACUNA | Southern California United States | 07/07/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Beautifully photographed, moodily and hiply scored, dripping with charisma and sex appeal from Clive Owen and Charlotte Rampling, "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" nonetheless fails to inspire anything but bewilderment: with all this talent and these superior production values...what happened?
Clive Owen plays Will, an exiled criminal that returns home to solve the death, supposedly suicide, of his younger brother Davey: a spiffy, low level drug dealer and Babe magnet. Director Mike Hodges ("Croupier") wants to have it all and he throws everything but the kitchen sink at us: there is an extended discussion of suicide that is better left for an educational film, there are old grudges thrown at Will from all sides none of which are resolved nor explained and then there is the character of Boad (Malcolm MacDowell) whose motivations are at best silly and at worst, empty-headed and ill-conceived.
"ISWID" is beautiful to look at then, but on closer inspection it's empty and illogical and more importantly a huge waste of talent and money."
Atmosphere, Revenge, and Poor Characterizations.
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 11/18/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
""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."
Were they asleep when they made this?
Brandon Whitfeld | nyc | 12/31/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"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."
Wanted to like it.
William Entrekin | Hollywood, CA | 03/17/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"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."
I'll Sleep When I'm Done This Review
El Lagarto | Sandown, NH | 01/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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?"