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View All Sleepless Night News
All Critics (28)
| Top Critics (13)
| Fresh (27)
| Rotten (1)
The plot is clever yet breathtakingly simple, the action is relentless but logical, and the lead role is tailor-made for Hollywood's A-list action stars.
The story is loaded with implausibilities, but it moves so quickly you won't have long to dwell on them, and there are a number of neatly executed reversals.
It's fast, lean, satisfying, and forgettable; nothing special, really, until you realize that the movies have largely lost the knack for brisk mayhem like this.
The sort of stripped-down, Francophone picture that's been spoiling American action fans over the last few years. There are no Cuisinarted fight scenes, no pauses for awkward romantic subplots.
Charging from one beating to another, wrenching diminishing returns from drunken camera angles and cat-and-mouse games, Mr. Jardin makes Vincent's predicament as hollow as a sustained scream.
This tense French thriller never goes anywhere new, but nonetheless keeps up an admirable adrenaline kick till the end.
Sufficiently diverting yet predictable enough to be just the perfect fodder for genre cinema enthusiasts.
But wouldn't it have been really cool if Vincent were actually corrupt and we rooted for him anyway?
A not-entirely flawless genre title that nonetheless succeeds thanks to its story and actors...
The great F. Scott Fitzgerald once said 'action is character' and by this notion, Vincent is a goddamn great character.
The old comedian's adage 'If they buy the set-up, they buy the gag' is particularly pertinent to the grandly implausible premise of Sleepless Night, Frederic Jardin's frantic action-thriller.
"Sleepless Night" starts with Vincent(Tomer Sisley) and Manuel(Laurent Stocker) robbing an illegal drug shipment. Since one of the victims brought a knife to a gun fight, things do not go perfectly as Vincent is stabbed and there is one dead. That is now one crime that Vincent and Manuel have to investigate in their day job as police detectives. Oh, and Jose Marciano(Serge Riaboukine) would very much like his drugs back, if it is not too much trouble, as he has Vincent's son Thomas(Samy Seghir). The exchange would have gone well if Vignali(Lizzie Brochere), an internal affairs detective, had not been trailing him and moved the drugs from its hiding spot. She reports all of this to Lacombe(Julien Boisselier), her supervisor, who is in cahoots with Manuel.
"Sleepless Night" proves that all you need for a well-crafted lean and mean crime thriller is some drugs, guns and one cool location, plus maybe a sense of humor. Of course, you have to keep the plates spinning non-stop which this movie does with a great deal of skill. Plus, it helps that all the depserate characters each have their specific motivations. However, there is a twist half way through the movie that takes some of the edge off but nobody's perfect. And by the end, I realized that for a movie involving a kidnapped child, this movie is surprisingly not mawkish in also being about a father's love for his son.
I usually avoid this sort of film, they generally star Jason Statham or, if the budget is restrained, Jean Claude Van Damme or Steven Seagal. Purely because this is French I figured it might be interesting and to a certain degree it is. A bad American thriller is sadly just a bad thriller but with it's French equivalent you at least get a sense that the director has some degree of passion for films.
Take this movie's best scene, a brilliantly realistic fight between two middle-aged cops in a nightclub kitchen. These aren't martial artists so it's a delightfully messy brawl, every kitchen implement, even press doors, utilised as makeshift weapons. Jardin is obviously a fellow John Carpenter fan, you can't tell me this isn't a homage to the great alley brawl between Roddy Piper and Keith David in "They Live".
The nightclub setting is a neat idea but it could have been used to greater effect. There's an opportunity here to indulge in some interesting sound editing which isn't taken. The only time we hear music is when the action moves to the club's dancefloor. Bizarrely every other location in the club is completely silent. Being a part-time DJ myself, something I've always been curious to see is a movie whose soundtrack isn't scored but rather mixed by a DJ. If ever there was an opportunity to explore this idea it's this movie. I really feel the film-makers have missed a trick here, not just creatively but it wouldn't hurt the movie's marketing if it had a soundtrack album by a top DJ.
Jardin is great as the uber-stressed cop who keeps digging himself deeper into trouble. You'd never get a lead actor with his non conventional looks in an American thriller, even in France it's quite daring to cast an Arab as your leading man. The casting overall is pretty good, lot's of the sort of great wrinkled faces you only seem to get in French movies. The one letdown is Brochere who just looks ridiculously young and pretty to be an undercover detective.
It was really no more than a time passer for this reviewer but if you're the sort of person who watches every Seagal straight to DVD flick, you'd be better served watching something like this.
Marciano: Is that all?
Vincent: The rest is in a safe place.
Remember what happened to action movies after Die Hard came out? A lot of action films were made that basically amounted to things like "It's Die Hard on a boat" or "It's Die Hard on a train" to varied levels of success, but one thing was for sure, Die Hard changed how a lot of people and studios wanted to make action films. That has somewhat subsided in favor of other types of action cinema, ranging from the slow-mo escapades of John Woo-like films to the bombastic extravaganzas of Michael Bay features, or the shakiness inspired by Paul Greengrass's work on the Bourne series. Sleepless Night is a French thriller that feels like a call back to the Die Hard days, placing an ordinary man in incredibly tense, violent, and stressful situations within a nightclub. It is well made from an impressively complex level rather than a stylish one and features action bits that feel very natural. Some minor plot flaws aside, the film is solid.
read the whole review at thecodeiszeek.com
read the whole review at www.thecodeiszeek.com
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