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

Cast: Clive Owen, Clive Owen, Charlotte Rampling, more...
Director: Mike Hodges, Mike Hodges
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Paramount
Genre: Foreign, Crime, Neo Noir, UK, Quest, Revenge
Running Time: 103 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

For I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, director Mike Hodges re-teams with Trevor Preston, the respected British television writer with whom he made a series of documentaries for ITV back in the 1960s. The film also brings the director together again with actor Clive Owen, the star of his previous film, Croupier, which signaled Hodges' resurgence. Owen plays Will Graham, a former London gangster who moved out to the country after suffering a breakdown of some sort. Will works clearing forests, and lives out of his van, until he loses his job over a lack of proper documentation. Meanwhile, Will's younger brother, Davey, is enjoying his life as a womanizing man about town, and dabbling in drug dealing, until one night, when an older man, Boad (Malcolm McDowell), has him followed and brutally assaults him. The traumatized Davey returns home and takes his own life. Will, uncertain as to where to go, finds himself drawn back to London, where he learns of Davey's death from Mrs. Barz (Sylvia Syms), his landlady. Will investigates what happened that night with his old friend, Mickser (Jamie Foreman). As Will tries to piece together what happened, he goes to visit Helen (Charlotte Rampling), his former lover, who is less than thrilled to see him after he abandoned her years earlier and eventually cut off all contact. The current neighborhood crime boss, Turner (Ken Stott), knows what Will is capable of, and sees him as a threat. Eventually, Will uncovers the truth, and is faced with the unpleasant prospect of avenging Davey's death. Screenwriter Preston took the title for the film from a sardonic song by the late Warren Zevon. ~ Josh Ralske, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Genre Twisting at its Best by gfrasur September 3, 2008 - 12:05 PM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
ISWID is a great example of a film that shows you everything that films in its own genre never bother showing you. It's a film about how complicated everything is, but not in terms of complicated plots, conspiracies and alliances. Those elements are quite trivial in the film. What's complicated is the exact opposite- human nature, the fragility of the mind, and the inevitable loneliness that comes as a result. A film that makes you really appreciate the many things the genre is capable of.

Negative space by dybevick November 29, 2004 - 6:30 AM PST
4 out of 6 members found this review helpful
About some actors it is said "I'd pay to watch them read the phone book".

For me, Clive Owen comes close to that, and as for Charlotte Rampling, I'd pay to watch her just look at the phone book.

In this movie, that's pretty much what you get, but you get your money's worth.

Except for the One Big Event, this was all about character, and mood, and more mood, and a bit of character. Except for the OBE, and a delicious two minutes of very much played down payoff, this movie was all about what happened *before* the film started. Then after watching, it's about how things might turn out in the twenty minutes and, with luck, twenty years *after* the final scene.

It painted a compelling picture in negative space, a picture that has stuck in my mind for the last few days.

I could watch it again.

Pretty and Sleepy by talltale November 24, 2004 - 4:44 PM PST
4 out of 7 members found this review helpful
Can't recall ever using the word immaculate to describe a movie, but it sure does apply to I'LL SLEEP WHEN I'M DEAD, Mike Hodges' bizarre combo of faux film noir, Brit crime drama, and updated family soap opera. Every frame is rendered "just so," a thing of beauty, whether the subject under scrutiny be a slum-like street, a bathtub full of excrement- (and then blood-) tinged water, or a field of tall grass beautifully wafting in the breeze. It is never difficult to watch this film, but eventually a lack of logic and intelligence does the movie in. (Would a man in hiding for years from the police and other gang members simply walk into the coroner's office to ask for info on his dead brother? Can male rape so quickly lead to suicide--and would this be quite so easily, promptly and thoroughly explained to a family member? The list goes on...) Everything here is so neatly tied up (and prettily wrapped) that even while you're enjoying the movie's visuals, which include Clive Owen, Charlotte Rampling and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, you're questioning its common sense.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 4.80)
65 Votes
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