Josh Bell


(2 stars)

Stars: Clive Owen, Jamie Foreman, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers

Director: Mike Hodges

Details: Opens Friday

The British thriller I'll Sleep When I'm Dead is so stylish, so reserved, so icily cool that it's near absolute zero. Director Mike Hodges, who's made pitch-black noir films like Croupier and Get Carter, seems more concerned with playing things cool than actually telling a story, and though the film is your basic revenge tale, it moves at such a snail's pace that the visceral excitement of the genre is nowhere to be found.

Like the film, the protagonist, former crime boss Will Graham (Clive Owen, also the star of Croupier) is restrained almost to the point of silence. After ruling the London underworld, he's spent the past three years living an ascetic life in the woods, working as an itinerant laborer and sleeping in his van. He returns to London after the suicide of his younger brother Davey (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), who kills himself rather than face the shame after being raped by a wealthy businessman (Malcolm McDowell).

After a lot of staring, brooding and mulling, Will finally gets around to going after the man who drove his brother over the edge, and in the last 20 minutes or so, the film finally comes to life. But it's too little too late, and the one final gasp of life isn't enough to save the movie from being a complete cool—make that cold—fish.

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