I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Once the toast of the crime world in the streets of London, gangster Will Graham (Owen) left the life 3 years ago to go live in the countryside like a hermit. A very disheveled and bearded version of Will returns to the big city one day to call on his brother, Davey. Upon his arrival, he discovers Davey has just committed suicide and so he starts investigating the reasons why he would have taken his own life in that way. It doesnít take long before Will starts getting back into his old routine to get those answersÖ
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Clive Owen is one menacing looking son-of-a-bitch and there isnít a soul that would be better suited to be cast in the ďpredatorĒ role in a revenge flick than him. With this movie, Owen continues his streak of flooring me with his brilliant performances, a streak that begun with the acclaimed CROUPIER and has lasted until his movie-saving turn in BEYOND BORDERS. In IíLL SLEEP WHEN IíM DEAD, Clive is as subdued as you can get. His character has seen the error of his ways, believes he has wasted his life and has retreated from the world as a result. He walks around dragging his feet most of the time and barely shows any emotion at all until the third act. Despite his less than energetic demeanor, he remains a fascinating character to watch and study. Director Mike Hodges gets you to care for this character right from the start and you canít help but be intrigued by Will, youíll wait, and wait and wait (the film is quite deliberately paced) as long as it takes to see where his journey takes him. When he finally gets ready to get back to his hardass self from the good old days, youíll be on the edge of your seat just waiting to see if, when and how heíll explodeÖ
In the end, this movie really is a character study more than anything else. Much like THE LIMEY and SEXY BEAST (both excellent films in their own rights), itís set in the crime world but itís really more about one personís acceptance of the life heís led and how he deals with that fact afterwards. The filmís supporting cast, which includes Willís older ex-girlfriend (Charlotte Rampling) and one of Willís old cronies (Jamie Foreman) does an equally good job at keeping the interest level up simply by being interesting characters themselves. You almost wish you could see this whole gang about 5 years ago when they were at their peak, running amuck and raising hell in the streets of London. I canít finish this review without giving props to Malcolm McDowell, who plays a prick with as much verve as he gave his most famous cinematic creation: Alex de Large. This movie wonít blow you away because it isnít aiming to do that; it just simply wants to give you a good look at that gray middle ground that crime pictures rarely exploreÖ
With films like SNATCH, LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS, GANGSTER #1 and the aforementioned SEXY BEAST, Britain is giving the U.S.ís gangster flicks a good run for their money. IíLL SLEEP WHEN IíM DEAD continues this recent onslaught of great crime films from jolly old England. Rent it this weekend!