Film Noir, anyone? Now, this is not for the faint-hearted, easily-squeamish, or anyone not wanting to leave the theater in a broody frame of mind. If you don't mind gritty psychological thrillers, violent scenes unsuitable for really anyone, and the occassional bout of vomiting, then I'll Sleep When I'm Dead is the flick for you. Mike Hodges, who directed Get Carter (the good one with Michael Caine, not Sly) teamed up with his Croupier star, Clive Owen (*sigh*), to create a cold, dark tale of London gangsters diving headfirst into and/or trying to crawl out of a life of crime. Despite the grim and gruesome aspects to it, the film had some interesting moments of thoughtfulness. I appreciated the way that many events, past and present, were revealed in a subtle manner; not everything was spelled out for the viewer. You have to make an effort to understand the things that are left unsaid and not too many movies do that these days. Don't get me wrong; I love explosions, robots, and stupidity mixed with hilarity as much as the next chick, but I'll pick the sleeper, clever movie over the popular, loud one anytime.
Perhaps you recall Clive (yes, we are on a first-name basis) from his stints in the BMW commercials, Gosford Park, or the BBC's Second Sight. Anyway, keeping up his moody demeanor, thousand-yard stare, and deep, hushed voice, Clive was quite good in this movie. I especially liked the scene where he goes from matted-down, bearded lumberjack to polished, clean-shaven gangster. Come to think of it, the full-on-beard-to-clean-jaw scene in The Royal Tenenbaums was my favorite too. I wonder why. Perhaps it stems from my younger days when I would watch in fascination as my father shaved so carefully, so deliberately, scraping the blade so close to his vulnerable neck but never nicking himself. Plus, he would make a cookie monster face on the palm of my hand with the shaving cream. Bonus! But what does that have to do with the movie? Nothing. Nothing at all. Um. Look! Over there! A brown dog!