Sleepers - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sleepers Reviews

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December 20, 2017
great story and cast. but super long and boring, with a prime old-movie-quality: narration. and the entertainment factor was low. (2 viewings)
September 29, 2017
Fantastic!!! Best movie I have watched in eons.
I Highly recommend!
½ August 24, 2017
The part with them as kids is the strongest element. Not that the part with them as adults is bad, it's just mostly a legal drama then, and while it's still interesting, especially because you've seen the kid part, it's pretty much like every other law drama TV Show or Movie. The score and cinematography are both really great, and the score was nominated for an Oscar, which was well deserved! The performances are all great, with the kids being surprisingly good, and the seasoned/veteran/popular adults obviously standing out! I personally really liked Dustin Hoffman, he was the stand out in the slightly less interesting law part! It's a long movie, but doesn't feel quite as long, because the kids part, for me at least, zoomed through! The law part does drag a little, if you've seen as many law things as me! Overall, this is pretty good!
August 9, 2017
Really a masterpiece. One of the few movies that not only stood the test of time but exceeded it.
July 29, 2017
A harrowing story of child abuse and subsequent revenge. The great ensemble cast gives forceful performances especially that of Kevin Bacon and Dustin Hoffman. This film is very important, for it rises the additional attention to the meanest and darkest features of human's nature.
½ April 30, 2017
Id say its a classic 90s movie, with great line up. A revenge movie, in some rather untraditional way. Thus the movie really dont manages to get out of the box, therefore it never really makes a deep impression either.
April 23, 2017
Clever story with an excellent cast.
March 24, 2017
The acting is okay. Not really a great casting. But Barry Levinson is such a brilliant director that it doesn't matter. You really feel bad for the guys by the end of the movie. The underlying sadness is just so obvious. Great movie.
March 16, 2017
Gripping and powerful.
March 13, 2017
Disturbing as it is poignant and thought-provoking. Sleepers is a tale of revenge with strong direction and powerful performances that will ultimately end in heartbreaking tragedy
½ March 11, 2017
Great movie based on questionable "based on a true story" source material. Many relevant themes of American Jurisprudence are explored. The depiction of juvenile correctional officers as sadistic pedophiles are good for dramatic effect, but does it effect the realities of 1969? Enjoy this movie as a work of fiction. Kevin Bacon owns as Sean Nokes, the demented and troubled senior correctional officer.
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.
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