Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Review: Sleepless

Cert: 15 / 95 mins / Dir. Baran bo Odar / Trailer

Hang on, is it still March? This is the sort of film which gets released in March. Or the £3 shelf in Asda. Where it's always March.

The latest entry to the vast canon of 95-minute clockpunched, autopiloted screenwriting sees Jamie Foxx playing an undercover cop on the verge of cracking a massive police corruption case. When he mislays a cocaine shipment belonging to a Las Vegas casino boss, his teenage son is kidnapped as retaliation, beginning an escalating game of cat-and-mouse where he can't be sure just who he can trust...

Yeah, I think this is what happens when Jamie answers the phone round at Liam Neeson's house. Sleepless is a mechanical procedural action-thriller whose title is somewhat ironic given that if you dozed off, you could be sure you wouldn't really miss anything. The film lumbers from punch-up to shoot-out to car-chase as the cast look increasingly bored with their placeholder characters and their plot-reveals which might as well be written on a placard and paraded around by a glamourous assistant behind the opening titles.

Genre stalwart David Harbour phones in a performance as Clearly Untrustworthy Detective, while Michelle Monaghan does Painfully Naive Detective like she was promised her role would somehow be more significant. Even Scoot McNairy's given up trying to be anything other than Typecast Psycho-Gangster. But what I really don't understand is the presence of Jamie Foxx. I've always struggled to warm to him as a leading actor, but he's better than this. Presumably Jamie owes someone a favour. I hope for his sake that it's now repaid.

The only thing which surprised me about Sleepless was the mention in the closing credits that it's actually a remake of an existing film. Because up until that point, I'd assumed it was a greatest-hits reel of about forty...

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
Any film where Liam Neeson wears a leather jacket and punches people.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
Netflix, tops.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
Oh probably, such is its paucity of ambition.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
That depends on how much you love it and also if you've never seen any cop thrillers before ever.

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Not that I heard.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: This film's got that Jamie Foxx in it, and he was in that Django Unchained, along with Sam 'Windu' Jackson.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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