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.