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Rental Unit: "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead"

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Will's decidedly ungangsterish appearance baffles his former associates, and his old lady (Charlotte Rampling) isn't all that pleased after all these years of silence. But Will has other problems. His younger brother Davey (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) killed himself after being sexually assaulted by a wealthy car dealer (Malcolm McDowell), and his former nemesis (Ken Stott) is maneuvering for an angle on what the dealer's really up to. All of which are ingredients for a fine drama. What the filmmakers seem to have forgotten is to make any of it stick.

The central conceit — unstoppable man bent on revenge — is always enticing, even after we've seen it in films from "Unforgiven" to "Road to Perdition" to almost every Hong Kong action picture ever made. The genre is less a telling investigation of human nature than a telling outlet of everyday desire. But Hodges and his longtime screenwriter Trevor Preston aren't interested in exploiting it either way, just as their antihero seems disinterested in everything, even vengeance. Though an admirable twist, Will's inner turmoil creates a cavity where we want something to grab hold of. How does one believe in a retired crime boss of any sort, much less one who questions the revenge of his brother's killer? Fascinating potential abounds, but so many holes are shot in our expectations that the movie bleeds to death. — Wayne Melton

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