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The thriller "Dead Man Down" features a ludicrous revenge plot that's presented with the straightest tone you can imagine, courtesy of Swedish director Neils Arden Oplev, who made the original European version of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

Colin Farrell stars as Victor, a midlevel mobster working for a crime boss, Alphonse (Terrence Howard), who's being bedeviled with mysterious messages sent by someone who's gunning down his crew. Victor becomes attracted to his neighbor, Beatrice (Noomi Rapace, who played Oplev's Lisbeth Salander), a French-born beautician who has a secret: She has video of Victor killing someone and uses it to force Victor to murder the drunk driver who left her face scarred.

As the script by J.H. Wyman ("The Mexican") unfolds, the dueling revenge plots get more elaborate and unhinged en route to a downright crazy and violent ending. And Oplev treats it all with the utmost seriousness, adding a brooding score and throwing veterans F. Murray Abraham (as Victor's mentor) and Isabelle Huppert (as Beatrice's mom) into the mix.

Rapace is eminently watchable, though, bringing the same fire she had in her "Dragon Tattoo" trilogy.


'Dead Man Down'

Opens Friday, March 8, at theaters everywhere; rated R for violence, language throughout and a scene of sexuality; 110 minutes.

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