Sleepers - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sleepers Reviews

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July 16, 2016
Still one of my favourite films, a story told in two halves, childhood innocence and grown up revenge. "Hell's Kitchen is a place of innocence, ruled by corruption" with an all star cast and a serious subject matter, the story and characters will keep you interested to the very end.
June 22, 2016
The film was flawless up until the boys grew up. This is a tense, disturbing movie from start to finish. It is not the best courtroom thriller out there, but it's pretty darn good. Kevin bacon was excellent as the demented ward guard
June 14, 2016
Sleepers is has wonderful cast and has brilliant acting, but all is too familiar
½ May 13, 2016
Watchable New York crime thriller.
½ April 17, 2016
Interesting story that meanders in the middle, along with a very strange courtroom scenario near the end. Enjoyable, entertaining.
March 12, 2016
It turns out to be a lifeless court-room drama with as least intelligence and as much coincidence as possible, even though the story that led to the court-room was unusual, unconventional and dramatic.
A decent first act isn't followed up with a suitably engaging last act even with the best cast possible at their disposal.
February 8, 2016
John Williams Is My Favorite Film Composer Of All Time.
December 21, 2015
Hardly believable and considerably irresponsible movie.The ending,where the state attorney,the good guy,the good girl and the two thief scumbag killers,all with the blessing of the priest,reunite to celebrate escaping conviction on murder charges (that they were guilty of),is truly unsettling.
½ December 20, 2015
"Sleepers" is a revenge movie that, being epic in scope, serves its comeuppance cold and without much conventional morality. We are asked to succumb to our good senses in favor of passion and a they deserved it mentality - and, as emotionally inclusive and brutal as it is, we go along with its darkened ethics, its depiction of a world where corruption can sometimes make good in the minds and hearts of those who can handle it.
So "Sleepers" is a difficult movie to give yourself to, in part because it goes by the rationality that a party of wrongs can make a single right, and that it is flawlessly mounted (its acting, dialogue, is impeccable) but not dramatically nuanced enough to change our perspective of the outsider into the empathizer. Everything is presented to us at a distance - despite its epic length, the characters feel more like markers in a compelling story than they do three-dimensional characters. Such a characteristic is crucial when our entertainment depends on an emotional tug.
But the plot slaps us in the face on a regular basis, never letting our sympathy slip, and for that, I must give it credit. Its story crosses generations, beginning in the mid-1960s. There, we meet a group of four preteen boys, who make the most of living in the slums of Hell's Kitchen. Their bond is strong and their loyalty to one another is mighty - one could even say that they're brothers, minus familial pressure and a competitive lifestyle. Local priest Father Bobby (Robert De Niro) notices their potential, doing everything he can to push them in the direction of a fruitful adult life rather than a crime-riddled one like so many in the neighborhood.
Strong-handed guidance, however, can only go so far in an area where abusive husbands, thieves, and murderers run wild, and it doesn't take long for the quartet to start running quick, somewhat harmless errands for King Benny (Vittorio Gassman), a mafia gangster who holds much power over the area.
Being young and foolish, the boys don't understand the risks that could come with working for such a fellow, so we aren't surprised when one of the jobs, which entails that they push a hot dog vendor's cart down a flight of stairs, seriously injures a passerby and lands them in reformatory school. But just as we expect this to continue being a rosy, slightly gritty, coming-of-age story, things quickly take a downturn: as soon as the friends land on school grounds, so begins months of sexual abuse and torture at the hands of the guards, particularly the devious Nokes (Kevin Bacon).
Worried that no one will believe them, they vow secrecy, the memories taking a toll on them years later. After their stay ends, "Sleepers" jumps to 1981, where half the boys have grown up to be stand-up guys, the others criminals. Leader of the pack Lorenzo "Shakes" Carcaterra (Jason Patric) is a rising journalist; his right-hand man, Michael Sullivan (Brad Pitt), is a successful attorney. But the other two, Tommy Marcano (Billy Crudup) and John Reilly (Ron Eldared), who have remained close friends through the years, have taken to crime as a living; when they see Nokes at a bar, they shoot him, without mercy.
Seeing the opportunity at hand, Michael and Shakes decide to orchestrate a methodical plot that will keep their friends out of jail and land the guards who destroyed their lives years ago in serious trouble. It's a morally bankrupt idea, sure, but it's worth it - molesters are not individuals who deserve compassion.
Its vigilant vengeance is not so much the issue with "Sleepers"; the issue is that it's nearly 150 minutes long, and contains plenty of moments that do little to retain our interest. The story builds with horrific occurrences, drawing us in, but it is done so clinically and without much dramatic coating; it has the feeling of a tell-all, involving but also thin - it's too long and it often drags. We are, of course, happy with the ending, which leaves Tommy and John unscathed for their revenge - Nokes had it coming, being scum of the Earth almost satanic in stature - but we cannot deny that the film has moments during which we doubt the need for such pandering length.
The acting is spotless, though, and Barry Levinson, writing and directing as economically as someone can with so much content, makes "Sleepers" conventionally "good," which is passable depending on your outlook. Yet, I never found myself much enthusiastic - here is a film in which we should be cheering once its ending comes around. The characters, unfortunately, are much too shallowly sketched to cause bewilderment. And doesn't it seem a little strange to you that Lorenzo Carcaterra, the real-life central character and writer of the novel of the same name, was so willing to put work out there that exposes him as a conspirator and a condoner of perjury? It's for a good cause, but revenge has consequences - "Kill Bill" isn't the real deal, after all.
December 2, 2015
A very tense and compelling story between revenge and friendship. You could see there was an energy that had to be released by the boys in the middle of the movie when they kill Kevin Bacon.
September 10, 2015
Good thriller-drama. The first half is more interesting than the second half. Deniro and many of the other supporting cast had a strong presence. Jason Patric was a dud.
August 7, 2015
Dynamite movie! Director Barry Levinson is in full control of this great ensemble piece in which every actor in the movie has awesome moments, EVERYONE! But the ones that stick out the most our Kevin Bacon as the sexually abusive guard at the Wilkinson Home for boy's where Jason Patrick, Brad Pitt, Billy Crudup and Ron Erald are sent to in the summer of 1967 Hell's Kitchen. Bacon is just disturbingly brilliant to watch on all levels as you have never seen him portray a character like this on screen EVER! Then their is also Dustin Hoffman, who in my opinion is definitely up there with the greats such as Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, as he plays a mafia lawyer, who is also an alcoholic with a small drug problem, for Billy Crudup and Ron Erald, who are later on trial *SPOILER ALERT* years after the incident at the Wilkinson's Home for boy's and shoot Kevin Bacon to death in a Irish pub after Erald's character spots Bacon eating in the corner of the pub alone. Hoffman is just brilliant to watch, as he plays his character very low key, but effective, and you'll see why when you see the movie. Then there is the great Robert DeNiro as the neighborhood priest in Hell's Kitchen Father Bobby. DeNiro is so calm and effective too in his role that you really wish you had a neighborhood priest like him in your neighborhood. Someone who you can relate to, or can relate to you, and give you guidance in life as so much of us crave that in life, and DeNiro is just so convincing in the part that watching him in this movie I just can't help myself, but say that DeNiro really is the greatest. Nobody is ever gonna have as much impact on the movies as DeNiro has had, and that is why the man is truly a legend as he really just embodies every SINGLE role that he takes on. The man is a legend, an icon, a hero, and just the best fucking actor that has EVER walked the face of this earth.
½ June 23, 2015
Could have been a masterpiece but because Jason Patric was horribly miscast in this film it missed the boat.His performance was flat & uninteresting.dragging the second half down the toilet.
½ May 2, 2015
When you see the flaws and do not give one rats arse because the story and the characters are so good then you have really seen something wonderful.
April 17, 2015
82%
Saw this on 15/4/15
Sleepers is one of the strangest films that I have seen, if the things that they tell you on the film really did happen, then it must be one hell of a feat. Anyway, Sleepers is an original film that is often touchy when it tells about the sexual violence and stuff like that. However, the film tends to rush a lot, as if trying to close things up too quickly leaving less time and space for it's ensemble cast to develop characters with some development.
April 13, 2015
A highly implausible, but extremely well-acted drama that clearly inspired Dennis LeHane's, Mystic River as both share similar concepts about child molestation, crime, and the bonds between friendship. The all-star cast is outstanding with the likes of Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Brad Pitt, Minnie Driver, and Kevin Bacon leading the adult cast while young up-and-comers Brad Renfro and Joe Perrino more than hold their own against the seasoned talent. The story is very grim and the first half of the film is tough to watch with many graphic scenes of violence and sexual abuse towards the young boys, while the second half is about their revenge against their abusers in court. It's a smartly written script and you're cheering for the boys-now men to get justice, but their con in court is more than a little unbelievable. There are too many loop holes and inept prosecuting that go on for me to believe any of the proceedings, but the film is so well-acted and the story is so riveting that you can forgive it for it's oversights.
½ March 31, 2015
Quite honestly, this is one of best films I had ever seen at the time, still among my favorites to this very day... well written, very well acted. Everyone was on their "A" game with regards to this film... plus anything with Robert DeNiro is usually gold.
March 30, 2015
Critics says a lot but none of them not even talk about revelation of obnoxious cruelty in correction facilities which the movie is centred about.
March 24, 2015
There will be a gray tones to decide what the good is and what the evil is in this film. But two things will be learn, that a beautiful and planned revenge is always sweet, and also "Robert De Niro may be a not good Father, but he is a good father."
½ March 11, 2015
Great courtroom drama where youths are on trial for killing a guard that molested them in Wilkinsons juvenile detention center. What a crazy cast!
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