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I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

2.6 3
Director: Mike Hodges

Cast: Clive Owen, Charlotte Rampling, Jonathan Rhys Meyers


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For I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, director Mike Hodges re-teams with Trevor Preston, the respected British television writer with whom he made a series of documentaries for ITV back in the 1960s. The film also brings the director together again with actor Clive Owen, the star of his previous film, Croupier, which signaled Hodges' resurgence. Owen plays Will


For I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, director Mike Hodges re-teams with Trevor Preston, the respected British television writer with whom he made a series of documentaries for ITV back in the 1960s. The film also brings the director together again with actor Clive Owen, the star of his previous film, Croupier, which signaled Hodges' resurgence. Owen plays Will Graham, a former London gangster who moved out to the country after suffering a breakdown of some sort. Will works clearing forests, and lives out of his van, until he loses his job over a lack of proper documentation. Meanwhile, Will's younger brother, Davey, is enjoying his life as a womanizing man about town, and dabbling in drug dealing, until one night, when an older man, Boad (Malcolm McDowell), has him followed and brutally assaults him. The traumatized Davey returns home and takes his own life. Will, uncertain as to where to go, finds himself drawn back to London, where he learns of Davey's death from Mrs. Barz (Sylvia Syms), his landlady. Will investigates what happened that night with his old friend, Mickser (Jamie Foreman). As Will tries to piece together what happened, he goes to visit Helen (Charlotte Rampling), his former lover, who is less than thrilled to see him after he abandoned her years earlier and eventually cut off all contact. The current neighborhood crime boss, Turner (Ken Stott), knows what Will is capable of, and sees him as a threat. Eventually, Will uncovers the truth, and is faced with the unpleasant prospect of avenging Davey's death. Screenwriter Preston took the title for the film from a sardonic song by the late Warren Zevon.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Director Mike Hodges returns to the territory of his acclaimed debut, Get Carter, with I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, in which a former gangster seeks vengeance for his dead brother. But the newer film is much more contemplative, in the manner of Steven Soderbergh's The Limey, which itself paid homage to Hodges' earlier work. Hodges' elliptical treatment of Trevor Preston's screenplay allows the narrative strands to come together gradually, and continually thwarts genre expectations with its somber, thoughtful treatment of the brutal subject matter. The director's shadowy mise-en-scène , as shot by Michael Garfath, who also lensed Croupier, harkens back to the classic gangster movies of the 1940s and the work of John Alton on films like Anthony Mann's T-Men. The visuals set the dour tone of the film brilliantly, providing a visual corollary for the hopeless moral morass in which Will Graham (Clive Owen) finds (or perhaps loses) himself. Owen, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (Davey), and Charlotte Rampling (Helen) deliver expert, nuanced performances, subtly filling out details in the characters and their relationships that the economical script only hints at. Jamie Foreman (Mickser) is also quite good, while Malcolm McDowell is perhaps a bit shrill as the enigmatic Boad. To the filmmakers' credit, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead offers no simple, satisfying solutions to the mysteries at its core, and no pat answers to Will's dilemma. Those looking for a typical revenge drama may be disappointed by this film's cold, grim approach and its unhurried pace, but the film offers many rewards for those seeking something a bit more challenging.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Paramount Catalog
Region Code:

Special Features

Closed Caption

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Clive Owen Will Graham
Charlotte Rampling Helen
Jonathan Rhys Meyers Davey
Malcolm McDowell Boad
Jamie Foreman Mickser
Ken Stott Frank Turner
Sylvia Syms Mrs. Bartz
Geoff Ball Arnie Ryan
Desmond Baylis Cannibal (Jez)
Kirris Riviere Big John
Brian Croucher Al Shaw
Ross Boatman Malone
Marc O'Shea Paulin
Noel Clarke Cyril
Alexander Morton Actor

Technical Credits
Michael Hodges Director
Evangeline Averre Costumes/Costume Designer
Jon Bunker Production Designer
Max Bygrave Sound/Sound Designer
Paul Carlin Editor
Paul Carr Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Corrente Producer
Leo Davis Casting
Michael Garfath Cinematographer
Richard E. Johnson Executive Producer
Mike Kaplan Producer
Robert O. Kaplan Executive Producer
Roger Marino Executive Producer
Marisa Polvino Co-producer
Trevor Preston Screenwriter
John Ralph Art Director
George Richards Sound/Sound Designer
Simon Fisher Turner Score Composer
Trisha Van Klaveren Executive Producer
Richard Whelan Asst. Director

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
1. Chapter 1 [:05]
2. Chapter 2 [2:23]
3. Chapter 3 [:06]
4. Chapter 4 [:05]
5. Chapter 5 [2:04]
6. Chapter 6 [:06]
7. Chapter 7 [:05]
8. Chapter 8 [2:25]
9. Chapter 9 [:03]
10. Chapter 10 [:05]
11. Chapter 11 [2:15]
12. Chapter 12 [:03]
13. Chapter 13 [:05]
14. Chapter 14 [1:38]
15. Chapter 15 [:03]
16. Chapter 16 [:00]


Customer Reviews

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2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The story just fell flat. It was like the movie just stopped. We absolutely hated the ending and felt betrayed and let down. You never find out what happens. The movie was a real dud.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not unlike another reviewer, I was very disappointed in this flick, and I likewise think that its only redeeming merits are due exclusively to Clive Owen's performance. Being kind, I'll say that Director Mike Hodges did a horrible job of editing. He must have decided, inexplicably, to delete many of the scenes, because the way this thing is cut makes very little sense. The ending leaves too many questions unresolved (a frivolous and wasteful attempt at a poetic match with the opening lines), including but not limited to why Charlotte Rampling is left in the hands of her abductor. The characters are not developed well enough for us to understand their purpose, and the plot runs in all directions. When we ARE provided information crucial to the story, such as the reason for Owen's brother being sodomized, it's capricious and illogical. This is not a film noir, dark mystery; it's simply dumb. I recommend that you take a pass, because it's not a very good movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wonderful film noir piece that revolves around retribution, power and masculinity. You are not meant to empathize with the characters, only to observe and perhaps by fascinated by their litle explored relationships and reactions to their malovent universe. All of this and the constant mood of apprehension and constant tension of potential retribution makes this such a great movie. Even the soundtrack is pitch perfect.