Dead Man Down

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Dead Man Down Movie Poster Image
Solid revenge thriller has gun violence, other edgy content.
  • R
  • 2013
  • 110 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie's main theme is revenge, and although there are a few hints of redemption at the end, it sticks close to that motif, with the main characters killing without repercussions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The movie's main character is a killer who's working for a gangster and looking for revenge. He kills two different, opposing groups of gangsters. All of this happens without consequences/repercussions, though he does show some kindness and appear to have learned some lessons and found a kind of redemption at the end. The main female character is a survivor but also a victim.


Two huge gunfights with shooting and dead bodies, though not much blood is shown outside of minor injuries. A frozen corpse is shown. Characters are shot in the head and shot at close range. Other characters are shot by long-range rifle. A character is hanged with a rope. A character is briefly tortured -- tied up and covered with hungry rats. A bloody ear is shown after an operation. A woman is briefly held hostage during a shootout. A car crashes into a building.


A minor character is shown having sex with a prostitute (she demands her money afterward). Very little nudity is shown: The woman wears her bra, and though she doesn't have underwear on, she covers herself. The two main characters kiss on two occasions.


"F--k" is used several times, in various permutations, throughout the movie. "S--t" is also used a few times. "Bitch" is used once.


Tupperware is mentioned a few times. A delivery service that resembles FedEx is used but is fictionalized for the movie.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One scene takes place in an illegal drug facility, with piles of cocaine shown. Almost all of the main characters smoke cigarettes at least once. The main female character drinks a beer in a restaurant.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dead Man Down is a revenge-themed thriller from the director and star of the original Swedish The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It's not nearly as intense as that movie, but it does have plenty of violence, language, and sexuality. There are close-range shootings and several gunfights, with dead bodies and some blood, and a character is briefly tortured (tied up and covered with rats). A minor character has sex with a prostitute, though no graphic nudity is actually shown. The male and female leads kiss on two occasions. "F--k" is used several times and "s--t" a few times. All of the main characters smoke cigarettes, and an illegal cocaine facility, with piles of cocaine, is briefly shown. Though the main character experiences some redemption, he's still driven by vengeance, and there are no repercussions for the killings he commits in the name of revenge.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjoshua martinez August 1, 2013

16 and up.

dead man down is one of those dark thriller movies that your young kids should stay away from dead man down is a good thriller movie stars with your familiar ac... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byRegardingCecilia September 11, 2013

Dead Man Down

There is a brief sex scene in the beginning, frequent violence and blood that includes two shoot-outs (one set in a shady environment clearly filled with cocain... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bymovie loving teen March 10, 2013

More excellent art house romance thriller then shoot em up action film.

I love this movie for the soul reason that it wad an incredibly human story that show the consequenses of revenge. The characters are so emotionally damaged tha... Continue reading

What's the story?

Victor (Colin Farrell) works for a gangster called Alphonse Hoyt (Terrence Howard), and, though he seems loyal, he's actually doing it undercover to get revenge for the death of his wife and daughter. In the middle of a complex scheme to lure a group of bad guys under one roof, Victor meets opposition when his best friend, Darcy (Dominic Cooper), starts to investigate his secret activities. Worse, a pretty neighbor, Beatrice (Noomi Rapace), figures out who Victor is and asks him to kill the drunk driver who disfigured her face. When Victor and Beatrice get romantically involved, Victor's plan slowly unravels. And, after incurring the wrath of the gangsters, will he be able to set things right again?

Is it any good?

Director Niels Arden Oplev, who helmed the original Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, makes a solid English-language debut with DEAD MAN DOWN. Reteaming with Dragon Tattoo star Rapace, he crafts a well-paced thriller; like his previous film, it's a sturdy potboiler that's directed with a European sense of space and rhythm, accepting of character flaws, and generous with time for characters to breathe and develop at their own pace.

The screenplay by J.H. Wyman (The Mexican, the TV series Fringe) has a few twisty surprises in the first half, but even after everything is revealed, Dead Man Down keeps the momentum chugging toward an exciting conclusion. It doesn't rely too much on gore or violence and rather enjoys its colorful supporters, including Isabelle Huppert as a deaf, doting mother, Armand Assante as a scary gangster, and F. Murray Abraham as a helpful father-in-law. Overall, it's a decent, logical, revenge-based thriller.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Dead Man Down's violence and revenge. How does the movie justify the main character killing so many people and getting away with it? Who doesn't he kill? Is he a sympathetic character despite his actions? Why?

  • How is Beatrice's revenge different from, or similar to, Victor's revenge?

  • Are the main characters likable here? Are they intended to be role models? Why or why not?

  • How does Victor's friendship with Darcy affect his plan? Does friendship weaken a person or make you stronger?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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