Suppose Armand Assante had played the mother, not as a father, as a mother. Suppose Isabelle Huppert had taken the Colin Farrell part. This may be no more than playful, but heaven knows Dead Man Down needs as much of that as it can get.
More a dark fairy tale about vengeance than the action-packed crime thriller it purports to be, the film is at times exhilarating, bold, and beautiful -- when it's not busy being ludicrous, fragmented, and just plain stupid.
Perhaps if Farrell and Rapace and Oplev had all stayed in Europe - and tried to do a similar script, with half-as-much firepower, and twice as much brainpower - they might have had something worth watching. Instead it's just something worth ducking.
It's all so much turgid brooding, dialogue underlined with import, and leaden symbolism involving Rapace's white and red dresses, none of which is salvaged by a typically understated Farrell performance.