I’LL SLEEP WHEN I’M DEAD (Mike Hodges, 2003)

Mike Hodges’s I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, a depressed, no-key South London noir about rape, suicide and fraternal revenge, is one of the most dispiriting movies I’ve seen. The spectacle of Malcolm McDowell buggering Jonathan Rhys-Meyers tramples on too many sacred movie memories and adds a loathsome draught of homophobia into the mix. Clive Owen lacks the resources to sustain the engine of a modern-day samurai. His performance is pitiful.
     The atmospherics remind me of Mike Figgis’s Stormy Monday (1988), a film that gives one, at least, a rooting interest in some of its characters. The only soul we care about in Hodges’s film is the boy that Rhys-Meyers plays, and his suicide comes fifteen minutes into the film. I kept worrying about the parakeet that the boy’s death orphans.
     Others say that the film is a rehash of Hodges’s much earlier Get Carter (1971). I have never seen Get Carter. Am unlikely to.

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