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|Will Graham||Clive Owen|
|Davey Graham||Jonathan Rhys-Meyers|
|Frank Turner||Ken Stott|
|Mrs. Bartz||Sylvia Syms|
|David Myers||Damian Dibben|
|Stella, drugs seeker||Daisy Beaumont|
|Philippa, model||Lidija Zovkic|
|Arnie Ryan||Geoff Bell|
|Big John||Kirris Riviere|
|Al Shaw||Brian Croucher|
|Malone, chauffer||Ross Boatman|
|Paulin, hired gun||Marc O'Shea|
|Little Billy Swan||Dave Alexander|
|Mrs. Turner||Lesley Clare O'Neill|
|Mrs. Calgani||Emma Dewhurst|
|Algar, foreman||Francis Magee|
|Annie, waitress||Jacqueline Defferary|
|Hair, taxi driver||Tim Plester|
|Hotel Maid||Sophie Jones-Cooper|
|Boads' Henchman||Ben Uttley|
Directed by Mike Hodges
Written by Trevor Preston
Toronto Globe and Mail 9/10/03
Zevon the storyteller
Mike Hodge's taut gangster film I'll Sleep When I'm Dead has taken on a new edge with the death this week of songwriter Warren Zevon. Hodges borrowed his film's title from Zevon's song I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, according to Web site (this site!) of the film's star, Malcolm McDowell. According to The New York Times, one of Zevon's songs "could sketch an entire screenplay in four minutes." I'll Sleep Till I'm Dead is one of those, a quick sketch of a guy who starts off by raising hell on a Saturday night, then drowns his sorrow in booze and prescription medicine. His final solution is "a .38 Special up on the shelf."
Toronto Sun By Jim Slotek
Mike Hodges' new film I'll Sleep When I'm Dead is about a Brit gangster who investigates the suicide of his brother and discovers he'd been raped by a deranged car dealer (Malcolm McDowell). We tell the veteran director that we've seen McDowell commit rapes in four films, and we've only seen a fraction of his oeuvre. These include Hodges' film plus A Clockwork Orange, Caligula and 1979's The Passage (in the latter, he's a Nazi who anally rapes a teenage girl). What's the deal here? "Really! I had no idea," Hodges says, amused. "I suppose that's how he knew how to do the scene so well. I just left the camera on and watched this character become more and more pathetic. "I did offer the role to other well-known actors and they were absolutely shocked that I would offer it to them. They were quite insulted actually. But Malcolm was quite comfortable with the idea. We've been friends for a long time, so he probably did it more as a favor than anything."
Incomplete Clive Owen Story
Furious preparations for the Christmas rush
aside, the Freemans catalogue building standing firm on the Clapham Road has
been playing home to some intense drama. For it is here that the production of
psychological crime thriller I'll Sleep When I'm Dead is under way, with star
Clive Owen, his face smothered in a beard, his unblinking eyes locking in a
stare, discovered the truth about his brother's death.
"I basically play someone who was very violent in a violent world," begins the actor.
Maybe not classic, but all of Malcolm's dialog.
"Hello. What are you doing here. What? What is he going to find out? What could he possibly find out? Yeah, he's scum, just like his brother. That night I was at home with my family."
"Get out there, go on, sick 'em off, sick 'em, yeah go on, yeah, Get 'em boy. Sick 'em off, Henry, good boy. Woo."
"Henry! Henry? I know who you are. You're just like he was. So sure of yourself, so certain of what he was. I was watching him for weeks you know? The parties, the restaurants, the clubs. Oh...he was everything I loathed. The clothes, the walk, the talk, the lies. The way he smoked, the way he laughed. Laughing, always laughing, mocking - everything, everyone. And the women, their eyes like hands on him all the time. What was he, huh? Thief? Drug Dealer? A degenerate? I wanted to show him what he was - nothing...nothing. He was less than nothing. I wanted him to know that."
Widescreen Version Enhances for 16.9 TVs
Dolby Digital - English 5.1 Surround
English Dolby Surround
Paramount Classics, Seven Arts, Reverse Pictures
"Two thumbs way up." Ebert & Roeper. "One of the best crime movies of the year." Roger Ebert.
7/4/04 Mercury News with Mike Hodges
4/24/04 The Guardian Weekend with Malcolm McDowell
9/9/03 Toronto Sun Interview with Mike Hodges
8/31/03 The Guardian with Mike Hodges
Malcolm and his wife Kelley attended the Paris Film Festival March 24 - April 1, 2003 where Malcolm was the Jury President. The reason for this is that someone who runs it saw "I'll Sleep When I am Dead" and said it is the best film they have seen in five years. Most of the people who made the film or are in it will attend the festival and see the film for the first time including Clive Owen, Mike Hodges and the producers. In the biggest scene Malcolm forcibly rapes Jonathan Rhys-Meyers....ouch!
The title is based on the old Warren Zevon song of the same name from the album 'Stand in the Fire'. Zevon died on 9/7/03. Bon Jovi also has song with this name.
Filming began September 23, 2002 and wrapped 11/4/02.
Filming finished in Wales with a small cast and crew. The vibe on the set was very good and the cast got along well. There was five weeks of locations primarily in South London, centering around Brixton and Clapham, and one week in Wales, based in Fishguard. 52 locations were used, including the Strumble Head lighthouse during the worst storm to hit the Welsh coast in 20 years.
When the offer for The Company came up the filming of Malcolm's scenes had to be pushed back from September to October.
Clive's character has the same name as the famous agent from Manhunter/Red Dragon.
An article about the film appeared in the 2/03 issue of Empire magazine.
In the book 'Get Carter and Beyond' Mike Hodges talks about the film.
Seven Arts tried to get the film entered in the Cannes Film Festival, but were rejected.
Played at the Moscow Film Festival 6/26/03.
UK premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival August 23 and then at the Toronto Film Festival (TIFF) on Sept 6.
The original release date was 11/17/03.
Rated R, 103 mins.
Played the Sundance Film Festival on 1/15/04.
Played the 27th Portland International Film Festival 2/18/04.
US Release date 8/20/04.
Order cut off date for home video 10/5/04.
DVD Release 11/16/04.
Contains a discreetly brief rape scene, fleeting rear nudity, some recreational drug abuse, a crass scene involving urination and some rough language.
Malcolm Behind the Scenes
Boad in his car waiting for the call
Boad rapes Davey
Boad coming up the stairs at his dealership
Boad meets with the snitch at work
Boad at home checking a wine bottle
Boad going to let the dog out
Will's transformation composite
Boad turning of the alarm and yelling at Henry
Will pointing his gun at Boad
Will going to execute Boad
DVD Cover - Front
DVD Cover - Back
VHS Screener - Front
VHS Screener - Back
VHS Screener - Label
Charlotte Rampling 3/25/05: "Oh, directors want me to be really stern sometimes. They like that quality in a woman. They find it compelling. I tried to warm it up a bit, but Mike wanted us to be terribly stern."
Malcolm McDowell: "Mike is a great friend and we always wanted to work together but I had to think twice about taking this role for there is a major scene which is quite horrible, something I refused to do, even in Caligula. But I am so impressed with Mike, who did this horrific sequence all in one shot. When you see it, it is very powerful without being salacious. I'm so happy things have come round for him and people are now saying he's one of Britain's all-time bests. He's a master who never got his due, until now. I also loved working with Clive Owen. He's a minimalist actor and terrific at what he does."
Mike Hodges: "Malcolm is a very brave actor. In this film he delivers a very measured and underplayed sense of this character. He again brought honesty to the role and like the other actors brought something that was just not on the page, elements which one can't anticipate, wonderful things."
"The film is about a criminal boss, Will Graham (Owen), trying to escape from the milieu of violence and deprivation he was born into, just like Jack Carter. But unlike Carter, he's become a recluse. A bum constantly on the move. Our story reveals how he is relentlessly sucked back into his old life, a place his younger brother still inhabits. My opinion of the project changed drastically when I returned to it after all these years. Because I see the world as such a dangerous place right now, maybe more so than ever before, and because revenge is much on our minds, our film has an added urgency...In a way it's a samurai film. Once a samurai, always a samurai. As with Jack Carter, Will can't escape his past. None of us can, of course."
Clive Owen: "There tends to be a lot of fussiness in modern filming. Mike Hodges loves to strip that aspect away, to keep things simple. And that's the way I like to work too. His way of filmmaking makes the story far more moving and powerful."
Trevor Preston: "The basic story is about a man who knows that if he returns to the city, he will die. He doesn't die physically; he dies spiritually. He finds himself compelled by the mores of the criminal culture he was raised in to commit a violent act of retribution."
"Nine years ago a friend of mine called Trevor Preston wrote a script called "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" and he asked me to read it and I liked it very much indeed. But we had great difficulty getting the right actor for it and when I did 'Croupier' I really enjoyed working with Clive Owen who I thought did really well. I asked Trevor if I could give it to Clive to read." - Mike Hodges on BBC Radio 3
Director Mike Hodges will re-team with his "Croupier" star Clive Owen on the noir thriller "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead," with Paramount Classics acquiring domestic distribution and certain international territories. Written by Trevor Preston, "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" tells of a former gang boss who is drawn back into the game to avenge his brother's sordid and tragic death. Charlotte Rampling, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Malcolm McDowell also star. The picture begins production in September and is slated for a late 2003 release. In addition to North America, Paramount Classics acquired the picture for Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Latin America and the Middle East. Hodges also directed the original "Get Carter," starring Michael Caine. Owen is starring opposite Angelina Jolie in "Beyond Borders" and was most recently seen in Robert Altman's award-winning ensemble "Gosford Park."
Directed by Mike Hodges (Croupier), I'll Sleep When I'm
Dead is a psychological crime-drama that features and all-star cast including Clive Owen
(King Arthur), Charlotte Rampling (Swimming Pool), and Malcolm McDowell (A
Clockwork Orange) and asks the question: what is the price of vengeance?
Ex-gangster Will Graham (Owen) thought he had gained back his soul by leaving the hard-boiled life of criminal underworld behind him and taking on the life of a drifter. When he learns that his younger brother is found dead of a gruesome suicide, Will comes back to town and discovers that his death was motivated by a shocking event involving a local car dealer with a violent habit.
To get vengeance against the man responsible, Will must deal with the unfinished business of his old life which includes a fued with local crime boss and lingering feeling for an old flame.
Will is seen hitting golf balls and getting
into his car, but these are really scenes from the end of the film. Davey is
being driven and he tells his buddy Eddie Dalton that Will is never coming
back. Davey Graham is in his 20s and seems to have
it all - looks, money and a place with the in crowd. He is also in love with
Davey is dropped off late to a party to hook up with Stella for a drug deal in the upstairs bathroom. A couple are in the adjoining bedroom about to have sex on the bed. Davey walks in and pretends he is going to puke to get them to leave. They run out and the man leaves his wallet which Davey picks up and pockets all of his cash. Stella arrives soon after and wants a taste of the coke before she buys. Davey wants 1100 for it and she tries to talk him down, but he refuses and she eventually gives in. He leaves the apartment after this and a man watches him go. The man makes a call on his cell phone downstairs where Boad and his two thugs are waiting. Stella comes up to him soon after. Sheridan, the woman running the party notices all of this, but thinks nothing of it as Davey takes the elevator down.
Meanwhile a dirty hippy man is living in his van. One night he spots three men beating up a man by the side of the road. When they are finished they get in their car and leave him there to die. We learn later that this man is Will Graham, older brother of Davey. Will goes over and scoops the man up and after finding his address on his license, he takes him home. He is greeted by the gun wielding wife, but he is only there to drop the husband off and recommends getting him to a hospital. She wants him to stay, maybe to reward him with sex, but he departs.
Davey is driven by Philippa back to her house. She is a model and is drunk and tells him how lucrative her work is and he thinks he can be a model and loves to travel. She is upset she lost her lighter at the party, so he hooks her up with some pills that she can go up, down or sideways. They make out, have sex and she falls asleep.
Soon after Davey walks home with a swing in his step and we see Boad is in a black car following him. Davey gets in a psychedelic cab that breaks down close to home and has to walk the rest of the way. The black car still follows him and soon gets ahead and hides around a corner. Two men get out and wait for him. When Davey rounds the corner the men jump him and bring him back into a storage garage. The older man, Boad, looks menacing as the two men hold him down. He comes in, says nothing, takes off his jacket, pulls down Davey's pants and anally rapes him. They then leave him there.
When Davey emerges it is light outside. He heads home battered and bruised with his pants torn. A man on a bike tries to help him, but Davey is too shaken up. Across the street from his apartment he runs into a buddy and quickly blows him off. His landlord Mrs. Bartz is going out to work at 5am as Davey is coming home. She is surprised to see him getting in so late, but he blows her off too. He goes into his apartment and stumbles around, visibly shaken. He then fills up the tub and gets in, with his clothes still on.
That day Will is working as a lumberjack when the foreman comes over to talk to him. He asks if he saw anything last night because he found a patch of blood on the ground. Will says he saw some kids in a car, but that was all. The foreman says he has to let him go since he doesn't have all his paperwork in order and under new rules that won't work. The foreman hates to do it since he needs him, but Will understands.
Davey is still laying in the tub at 5pm when his friend Mickser calls looking for him. That night Mickser comes over since Davey hasn't called or shown up. He doesn't answer so Mick goes to the landlord who says she saw him come home at 5am. He thinks that is odd and goes up to see what is going on with Davey who is known for being late. He finds Davey is still in the tub except now it is filled with blood from Davey having cut his own throat. He screams for the landlord to help and she is in shock. He wants her to get Frankie outside and says everything is OK. She won't listen and has to yell at her to do what he asks.
We now understand Will is a man on the run. He looks at the ocean from a cliff and then stops at a restaurant for a bit to eat. He tells the waitress he doesn't know where he is going and she says that sounds right and she'd like to go with him.
Mickser goes to the restaurant that Helen owns. She used to be Will's lover. It isn't open yet and the busboy tries to give him crap, but he is in no mood. He tells her he needs to find Will. She says it has been three years and he hasn't written in 11 months. He tells her they can't bury Davey without Will being there. She says he may have to. He can't understand why he did it. She asks if he was selling drugs and he says he was just playing around, nothing serious. Mick wants to know why Will left. She says he had a breakdown. He can't believe it because Will was the hardest man he ever knew. He is going to find him.
Will is staring into space during a rainstorm in his van, trying to fix something to eat. Meanwhile Mick is in a convenience store buying cigarettes when a man approaches him and he quickly leaves. The man takes the cigarettes and doesn't pay for them. They get into a car and drive off.
Mick is in the back with Will's old crime boss nemesis Frank Turner. Frank wants to know when the funeral is and when he'll see Will again. He tells him things have changed a lot in three years and hopes Will understands. He then gives him money for flowers and lets him out. The other man throws the cigarettes at him.
Will drives off and is waiting on line for a ferry to carry him off. He looks up in the nearby waiting area and sees Davey shadow boxing. He runs up and finds he isn't there and has a feeling he should call him, but only gets the machine. He starts to head for home.
Along the way he calls twice and leaving messages every time he stops. Meanwhile Mick and the Mrs. Bartz clean out Davey's apartment and Mick finds a large box of cash which surprises him. They are just packing up everything for Will to decide what to do. Suddenly Will calls and Mick runs, but is too late. Mick then rewinds the tape and hears that Will has now called for him three times. Helen is sitting home lost watching old tapes of Will and Davey.
Will drives all night and finally arrives at Davey's place. He still has a key, but there is a chain. He rings for the landlady and she doesn't recognize him. She can't tell him where Davey is yet. He goes upstairs, finds the apartment empty and sees there is still blood and a knife in the tub.
That night he dumps his urine bucket, locks up his van and goes to see Mick. Mick is a mess and shocked to see him there and doesn't know what to say. Will tells him he's going to see the coroner and asks if he thinks anything odd happened. Mick says no one knows what happened.
The next day Will goes to the coroner and isn't happy with the report being ruled a suicide and wants to arrange his own autopsy. That night he is walking toward his old club The Junction and Little Billy sees him and calls Frank to tell him. Frank wants to be sure.
Inside Will meets with three of his old crew - Arnie, Big John and Cannibal. There is still electricity and booze inside. They are thrilled to see him, but can't believe how bad he looks. They knew he'd come back one day and don't know what to say about Davey. Will wants to know why, what was he into. They tell him he wasn't tied to anyone, no one was putting his hand on him and he's dead, what does it matter. Will says it matters. He wants to know why Davey sat in a tub for of cold water for 12 hours before he cut his throat. They tell him he was dealing a little bit of coke now and then. Will wants to know why he had $11,000 in the apartment, he couldn't get that from petty dealing. They say he was dealing to the rich and ripping them off. They go to give him a drink and Will says he doesn't drink. They are excited if Will is really back, they could turn the down over. Will says Frank Turner would have something to say about it. They say there is tons of soft money for the taking. Will says he's not back for that. They tell him no one changes, not him. Will says he has changed, he's wrong. They say Frank is coming for him, has to, he knew people would die. They think that's what he wants, Will wants to die.
The man who pointed Davey out to Boad goes to see him at the car dealership Boad owns. Boad takes him downstairs and the man tells him Will is back in town asking questions and might find something out. Boad wants to know what he could find out. He wants to know what Boad did to him. Boad says he was at home that night.
Later Will waits for Helen to close her restaurant and surprises her. She thought she'd never see him again and wants to know why he is there. He says for Davey. She wants to know why she came to her since she doesn't want to speak to him and wants him to leave. He stopped writing because it wasn't fair. She is mad at him for that since she loved him and always knew who he was. She can't forgive him for thinking she didn't love him. He wants her to see who he's become. Sometimes he doesn't talk to people for days and is always on the run because of grief for his wasted life. Davey's life was also wasted and he's going to find out why. He thought she'd want to help, but she doesn't know anything. He goes back to his van and looks at pictures.
Will goes to his coroner the next day. The doctor wants to know if Davey was gay. Will says no, he wasn't even bisexual. The doctor confirms Davey had anal sex the night he died and the only way this could happen then was rape. He says there was no semen in the mouth like usual, but Davey did ejaculate. This is common and can cause psychological damage to the victim. This might be the cause of the suicide, but it still was suicide. Will can't believe this. The doctor says he can put him in touch with someone who can explain it better if he wants.
Mick unpacks Davey's answering machine and listens to the tape again. Cathy calls looking for him and is pissed. Then Sheridan calls telling him not to be late for the party. Then Mick calls looking for him and he turns it off. He then goes though some papers and finds the number for Sheridan.
He goes to her place, she had the party the night Davey died. She tells her Davey left soon after 11pm and left alone since he wasn't at the party to score. She didn't notice anyone else leave at the same time because it was early. She says the guy who was with Stella was waiting and on a cell phone and was nervous, but maybe it was nothing. She didn't know who he was, but might be able to find out.
Will goes to see the rape expert, an old man with arm braces. He says each victim of rape acts a different way. There are patterns, disbelief, it didn't happen to them, shock. Some feel strangely calm, others feel the need to shout, express rage. Sometimes, not often, they are so disgusted, so angry that they turn it against themselves. Will is stunned and wants a drink. One of the myths about the rapists is they are highly sexed with insatiable sexual appetites. The truth is they are inadequate, do it as a symbol of their virility and are not interested in sex at all. It's about domination, humiliation for power, not for sexual pleasure. Will wants to know what kind of man does it. He says a heterosexual man, married with kids and any age, could be more than one. The others would've held him down. The chances Davey would've know him are small, more likely a stranger, but he isn't sure. He says to let the police handle it as Will leaves.
Frank's driver confronts Will saying he never liked him and insults him. He tells him the message from Frank is to bury his brother and then go back to where he came from. If his friends do anything they are all dead. Will ignores him and goes into his old club to meet with Mick. Mick says he's got the name, address and phone number of the guy who called Boad. Will tells Mick Davey was raped and that is why he killed himself. Mick can't understand it and why didn't he tell him before. Mick knows Davey wasn't gay and screams at Will for thinking against him.
The driver tells Frank Will said nothing and Frank warns him not to underestimate him. Mick drives Will and tells Will he never should've left him. Davey had no one, no family. Mick says he got involved with the brain sick rich and it must've been one of them who did it. They go to the informants house pretending they are Stella. They get in and he tries to run. They pound him to get him to tell the name of the man who raped Davey. He is too scared, saying he'll get killed. They tell him his is dead already. He says he had nothing to do with it, he just made the phone call. They tell him Davey was raped.
Mick and Will drive off now that they have the info. Mick hands Will a gun from the glove compartment, but Will says he isn't coming with him. Will goes to Boad's place and stalks around outside watching him and the party going inside. A dog is barking like crazy at the door so Boad let's him out. The dog runs right by Will not seeing him. Will does nothing and leaves.
Frank is at home watching the races and is alarmed to hear the doorbell ringing constantly. He goes outside and find someone put gum on it to stick it down. He hears screaming from the yard and finds a body bag. It is the informant taped up and dressed in women's clothes. He leaves him out there and calls his boys to remove him and find out who did it.
Frank goes out and his driver tells him they need a young guy to pull the job off for taking Will out. He says he has a cousin Paulin from Belfast who is very special and perfect for the job. Right before they are supposed to meet the boys Frank tells him to go to his cousin right now, so they leave.
Mick is driving Helen and tells her what Frank said to Will and about Davey being raped. Mick didn't know what Will did at Boad's and he wouldn't tell him. Mick says he doesn't know what Will would do him, he's changed. Three years ago he would've killed him outright, but now he doesn't know. Mick drops Helen off at Will's van. She goes in to talk to him. He won't have sex with her, but she just wants him to go to the police. He says there is nothing the police can do. Boad could say it was consensual. She tells him he left that life behind. He wonders if he has. He says how it'll be at the funeral, the speeches, the lies, but she doesn't want to hear it. She wants him to leave the city tonight, if he doesn't it will destroy him.
Frank picks up Paulin but doesn't want him to smoke in his car.
Will goes to his old Rolls Royce which is in storage and pulls a suitcase out of the trunk which contains a black suit, lots of money and a gun. He goes to a hotel to change and have the suit pressed.
Paulin is dropped off.
Will goes to take a bath and at first sees the tub full of blood.
Paulin waits at a park bench for someone.
Will has a barber come to his room and cut his hair short and shave his beard. He is unrecognizable from before.
We see Paulin was waiting for Helen to come home. She arrives and he heads over to her place.
The maid comes back to Will with the suit. The change is complete. He then takes the Rolls through a car wash.
Helen goes inside and upstairs. The phone rings and she goes back down. It is Will. He tells her to pack a bag and he'll pick her up in three hours. She says just like that? He agrees.
Will drives over to Boads. He goes in his garage and sets off the alarm on the vette, so Boad will have to come out. He then hears the dog scream as Will shoots him. Will appears and wants to know the reason why he did it and how he wants to kill him pointing a gun to his head. Boad explains how he was watching him and hated him and wanted to show Davey he was nothing. Will then backs down. He says he is going to kill him, he just won't know when, the next day, the next month, he'll never know. Then he leaves. Boad is distraught over the dog. Will then turns around and 15 seconds later goes back inside and shoots Boad in the head.
Meanwhile Paulin has Helen hostage in her house at gunpoint. Will goes to the beach, hits some golf balls into the sea, stand in the reeds, goes back to his car and drives to Helens. The End
This is what movie making used to be like all
the time. Right away without knowing anything you know that you are seeing the work of a great filmmaker. It
even looks like
it could've been filmed 30 years ago and that's a great thing. There is none of
the talentless garbage littering today's film landscape like jump cuts, shaky
camera work, bad editing or reality show type filming. It is just a beautiful
looking film and an absolute joy to watch. Everything is solid - the camerawork,
the lighting, the editing, the mood. Nothing disappointed in any regard to the
look. The acting was also very good all around.
The only problem was the story. When I first heard Malcolm was in this film and was the plot was I thought, "And?? That's it?!" Unfortunately, that was it. When the plot can be summed up in a single sentence, that is a bad thing. Here it is: A gangster leaves the life behind and returns for revenge after his brother is killed. There is really nothing more to it. Hodges slowly builds mood and suspense, sometimes a bit too slowly and intentionally leaves us wondering about Will's past and if he's ever going to get to the bottom of the mystery. It all leads to the inevitable resolution, but the final shot leaves it all open with a Kubrick style ending. The only problem is Helen being held hostage a ways back and unless you are really focused on that aspect you totally forget about it. The movie ended and I was like OK, that's it? It took 30 seconds before I remembered the hostage drama was unresolved. What happens? Does Helen die? Does Will die? Does he rescue her? Hodges doesn't seem to care, but I did. We saw so little of gangster Will that it would've been cool to see him truly in action.
Malcolm's role is small, put powerful. He is the villain, but in the end it is an unsatisfying role. We have no background on Boad, he just shows up and looks sinister. But why? The whole time we are left to think he is some big gang boss, but in the end he is really no one. He's just a car dealer who was trying to clean up the community in a big, bizarre way. How does a car dealer become so powerful that he has thugs willing to help him commit rapes and probably other crimes? The film is unique in that it resolves around the topic of male rape, but is this a topic that needs to be explored? This doesn't happen enough to be something anyone can relate too. Boad's entire explanation on why he did it was totally weak. I kept expecting him to say that Davey ripped him off, or was stealing his business, something that would warrant such a nasty attack. In the end we get nothing. Basically he did it because he didn't like Davey. This makes no sense at all. It was the Bill Clinton excuse - he did it because he could. First of all, how would Boad have any access to Davey's lifestyle in the first place? Davey's just walking down the street and Boad rapes him in the butt. We never see them together before or that they even crossed paths, so why such a vicious hatred? A montage of Boad at parties watching Davey dealing drugs, with no dialog would've been great foreshadowing. This way they still wouldn't have to give away the ending or the reason why, but it would've given us a bit of a connection between the two characters. Instead it's like a man just rapes another guy for no reason. He doesn't even say anything to Davey while he's doing it. At the end of the film he says he wanted to teach Davey a lesson!? How did he do that? If you just walk up to someone and punch them in the face and walk away, how does that teach them a lesson? He needed to have some dialog like "Do you know what I'm doing this to you?" "No!!!" "Because I don't like your kind." Something, anything!
I wanted so bad for this film to be a masterpiece, I really did. I knew going in there wasn't enough plot happening, but it was even more of a mystery than action flick or drama. It was like the film didn't know what it wanted to be. Every plot twist was dangling. Was it a romance? Helen and Will were an item at one point, but that was unresolved. Was it film noir? There was no conclusion to the hostage drama. Was it a mystery? It runs on for a long time like a who dunnit, but we already know, so it isn't a surprise to us. All we don't know is why. I didn't exactly care why until the reason given was completely weak. It didn't make any sense and I didn't accept it. There was the whole long scene with the doctor explaining why men raped men and Boad didn't even take a hint of that path. He seemed to have everything going on OK in his life. Maybe a line where Boad says it is the only way he could get aroused would've added some weight to the scene and would've made it more acceptable.
Malcolm is great in this though. So many shots required him to just give a look and he gives some powerful ones with almost no dialog from his character until 55 minutes into the film. The only problem is he is just skin deep, there is no depth to Boad. So much went on before we get to the story that we almost need a prequel to fill us in on all the characters. It felt like I came in on the film at the middle. Malcolm did an extremely in joke by calling the dog Henry, which was his dog at the time, besides that there are no laughs for his character. Thankfully the rape scene is brief and he also remains nearly fully clothed. In fact, he is so covered up that most people wouldn't even know what was going on. He's just behind him and technically anything could be going on that it is violent. Later the autopsy confirms it for the first time. In the end, he doesn't even have the coolest scene. The best scene is when the hairy unkempt Will sits down for a shave and haircut and the barber puts a sheet over him and the next second the sheet is removed and he is totally cleaned up and unrecognizable. Absolutely brilliant filmmaking and one of the greatest shots of all-time. I just wished I could say more for the plot. I still recommend the film as a must see, but it's just not a classic.
From the acclaimed director of Croupier and the classic Get
He's been gone for three years...but his brother's death...has brought him back.
"The best British film of the year."
"A superb thriller!" - John Patterson, Guardian
"Clive Owen is mesmerizing." Barry B, Sunday Herald
Clive Owen, Charlotte Rampling, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Malcolm McDowell
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
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