"Sleepless" is Swiss born Director Baran Bo Odar's fourth feature length film in his cinematic career to date, following his debut film "Unter Der Sonne" in 2006, "The Silence" four years later and "Who am I" in 2014. This blog concentrates solely on his recent release Sleepless in 2017 and my brief review follows.
"This town is crawling with dirty cops"
The town in question is Las Vegas and ostensibly set over a 24 hour period across a sleepless night we have two factions of the local Police Department, a Casino Owner and a Crime Family all in search of 25 Kilos of stolen cocaine. And of course those "dirty cops". So far, so predictable, and a rather familiar and generic trope of movie that sadly doesn't bring anything new to the crime thriller/heist genre and plot twists that are telegraphed and far too easy to spot. Having seen the trailer for this film many times on my numerous visits to my local picture house I didn't envisage liking this film to any great extent and after 90 mostly turgid minutes, I didn't. This isn't a self fulfilling prophecy, it's just not a particularly good film!
On the plus side we do have an array of interesting characters, headed by Jamie Foxx as Las Vegas Police Detective "Vincent" who with his partner "Sean" (Tip Harris) are embroiled in a bloody and violent shoot out in the film's earliest scenes and make off with the illegal, precious and much sought after drug booty. So sought after is the cocaine that "Thomas" (Octavius Johnson) Vincent's teenage son, is kidnapped by the henchmen of hotel and casino owner "Rubino" (Dermot Mulroney) who has a deal in place for the cocaine with Crime Boss "Novak" (Scoot McNairy). Investigating the drug deal gone wrong are two of the best performances in the film from Michelle Monaghan "Bryant" and David Harbour "Dennison" respectively and Gabrielle Union provides a crucial cameo role as Vincent's estranged wife "Dena". For there are some impressive performances in Sleepless, in addition to the aforementioned portrayals from Monaghan, Harbour and Union it's great to see Dermot Mulroney back on the big screen as suave, quick talking Casino Boss Rubino and Jamie Foxx is excellent as the harassed and in over his head Detective Vincent.
Sleepless is Baran Bo Odar's first English language film and is based on and/or a remake of the French/Belgian thriller "Sleepless Night" or "Nuit Blanche". I haven't seen the original film but I was left particularly underwhelmed here despite some good performances and some fairly impressive action set pieces that bookend the film, from the violent shoot out at the film's commencement through to a Ferrari wrecking havoc inside the casino towards the film's denouement. There just isn't any substance or thrills of any kind in between! "That was some Reservoir Dogs shit back there" proclaims an over excited Sean early in the film. Sorry Sean, it truly wasn't! Although when Scoot McNairy (who performs admirably in his role as snarky and angry Crime Boss Novak) screams "I want my drugs" towards the end of the film, I wanted to reach into the screen and give them to him myself just to bring the tedium to an end!