Sleepless (2017)

  • Time: 95 min
  • Genre: Action | Crime | Thriller
  • Director: Baran bo Odar
  • Cast: Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, Dermot Mulroney


A cop with a connection to the criminal underworld scours a nightclub in search of his kidnapped son.

2 reviews

  • Undercover cop steals cocaine from a kingpin high up on the drug food chain. Said kingpin kidnaps undercover cop’s son and holds him for ransom until large amounts of blow are returned. Undercover cop is then followed and tormented by internal affairs plus every other criminal ruffian with a gun. So OK, that’s the gist of Sleepless. It’s my first review of 2017.

    One thing I know about this Sleepless, is that it will never leave you bored. This is probably one of the fastest paced thrillers I’ve ever seen in any genre. In between trying to take a breath, you the moviegoer get to experience endless fistfights, stabbings, and delectable shootouts. Sleepless (I’m not sure what the title means) is gritty, nasty, perpetually violent, and unforgiving. Yeah entertainment value exits here but there’s very little character buildup. At 95 exhausting minutes, Sleepless is kinda more “soulless” than symbolic.

    As a critic, I wanna rewind for a second. The movie poster for Sleepless has just one dude in frame. The movie poster for Training Day has Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke on it. Both posters however, look similar. Both lead actors have their heads turned to the right, both lead actors have their badges around their necks, and both leads carry the same intimidatingly badass look. It’s just too bad Sleepless doesn’t invigorate or compel you like Training Day once did back in 2001. That ship has sailed. Heck, that dog won’t hunt.

    Sleepless, which unfortunately got dumped into the month of January, is like a clone of a written or directed David Ayer project. The only difference is that Ayer’s scripting is a little more grandiloquent and you know what, he was the pioneer of the dirty cop thriller (movement) to begin with. For kicks and giggles, this film is set in Las Vegas (I don’t think I’ve ever seen a police drama set in the Entertainment Capital of the World) and has a sleazy B movie feel to it. With no known Academy Award value attached, you could basically call Sleepless B movie fare with just a bigger budget ($30 million to boot).

    Directed by Switzerland-born Baran bo Odar (he helmed 2014’s Who Am I), Sleepless consists of countless closeups of actors/actresses, layers upon layers of twist villains, and innumerable aerial shots of Sin City. I found the aerial stuff sort of amusing since the whole movie takes place in just one Vegas casino. Sleepless also has a few extras and/or side troupers whose screen time is almost laughable. Examples are a spa receptionist, a bathroom attendant, and a rental security guard. Were they there for comic relief? Who knows. The filmmakers obviously gave these people scale pay and you know what, it seemed like they were happy just to be in the unions. Ugh.

    In terms of casting, well lead Jamie Foxx grumbles, co-star Michelle Monaghan rages, co-star Dermot Mulroney looks forlorn, and “with” cast member Gabrielle Union channels the ticked off, ex-wife. Overall, I went into Sleepless with low expectations. I then came out thinking it wasn’t that horrible. Nevertheless, it still gets a sympathetic mixed review. Give me Street Kings, Bad Lieutenant, Unlawful Entry, or Training Day (mentioned earlier) as an alternative viewing experience. Rating: 2 and a half stars.

    Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

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  • Even if one wasn’t aware that Sleepless is an American remake of a 2011 French film named Sleepless Night (Nuit blanche), it wouldn’t take too long for one to be overwhelmed with been there, done that feelings about this Jamie Foxx-headlined actioner. Sleepless in and of itself is not necessarily a bad film – it’s solid, but wholly disposable – but because it doesn’t do anything to tweak or elevate its derivations, it becomes a pale and listless rendering. Indeed, the fact that it is devoid of energy despite its frenetic pacing is already a sign of its many problems.

    The film begins with a nighttime chase down the Las Vegas Strip and ends with a shootout as two masked men killing the occupants of one car and stealing 25 kilos of cocaine. Turns out that the masked men are corrupt cops Vincent Downs (Jamie Foxx) and Sean Cass (rapper T.I.), and they have just made the biggest mistake of their lives. The drugs happen to belong to equally crooked casino owner Stanley Rubino (Dermot Mulroney), who is desperate on retrieving the cocaine since it had been promised to Novak (Scoot McNairy), the terrifyingly vicious son of a local mob boss who won’t exactly be turning cartwheels at potentially having to explain this screw-up to his dad. Everyone is answerable to someone higher up in the food chain so to save his hide, Rubino kidnaps Vincent’s 16-year-old son (Octavius J. Johnson) and holds him hostage until Vincent can return with the drugs.

    Easier said than done since Vincent is being doggedly pursued by Internal Affairs investigator Jennifer Bryant (Michelle Monaghan, who overdoes the ball-busting bit a hair too much), who knows in her gut that Vincent is a dirty cop and makes his mission to retrieve his son even more difficult by getting a hold of the drugs that Vincent stashed in the men’s bathroom of Rubino’s casino and moving them elsewhere. In between fielding calls from his nagging ex-wife (Gabrielle Union) about his failure as a father, Vincent must find away to dodge Bryant and the Feds as well as Rubino and Novak’s various henchmen in order to save his son.

    The action scenes are competently executed, though they will remind you of other similarly staged, more entertaining ones. The opening chase is a poor man’s mash-up of Triple 9’s more stylish introduction as well as Jason Bourne’s climactic finale; the kitchen fight was more tightly done in last summer’s Jack Reacher: Never Go Back; strong shades of the Taken franchise are reflected in the father going through hordes of anonymous hitmen to save his child; and confining the majority of the action in a single setting is right out of the Die Hard playbook. The problem isn’t that Sleepless is derivative – one can firmly argue that all films are derivations – but that it brings absolutely nothing new to the mix. John Wick, for example, takes a story that has been done many times before – a man seeking revenge – and introduces elements as well as tremendously choreographed fight scenes that refresh the tale and invigorate the genre.

    The monotonous atmosphere extends to Baran Bo Odar’s direction, which is lax and unimaginative, as well as Foxx’s performance, which is both strenuous and half-hearted.

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