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A superb Dafoe contributes crucially to the degree of success the film achieves.
Schrader certainly has his finger on the pulse of the times, and the universally strong performances do ample justice to his sensitive ear for dialogue.
At its best, "Light Sleeper" is merely theoretical. Most of the time, though, it is artificial and laughably unbelievable. Even the dark, gritty Manhattan locations don't add authenticity.
| Original Score: 2/5
In film after film, for year after year, Paul Schrader has been telling this story in one way or another, but never with more humanity than this time.
| Original Score: 4/4
Artistically self-indulgent, if beautifully acted, "Light Sleeper" isn't aimed at audiences with a hunger for conventional entertainment and upbeat endings -- for Schrader this is an improvement.
"Sleeper" is wonderful, vintage fare from the man who scripted "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull," and directed his own screenplays for "American Gigolo," "Mishima" and others.
The movie is a small but absorbing mood piece, a canny insider's view of the life of a Manhattan drug dealer.
| Original Score: B