dir Baran bo Odar
scr Andrea Berloff
prd Roy Lee, Adam Stone
with Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, Scoot McNairy, Dermot Mulroney, Tip 'T.I.' Harris, David Harbour, Gabrielle Union, Octavius J Johnson, Tim Connolly, Drew Sheer, Sala Baker, Tim Rigby
release US 13.Jan.17, UK 5.May.17
17/US Open Road 1h35
Cops on a collision course: Monaghan and Foxx

mcnairy mulroney harris
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Sleepless A remake of the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, this gritty movie is packed with physical and verbal violence. It's assembled for undemanding viewers who are entertained by a surging pace and lots of glowering masculinity. Swedish filmmaker Odar gives it a stylish sheen, and the strong cast injects a hint of beefy depth. But everything about it is overfamiliar.

In Las Vegas, Detective Vincent (Foxx) helps his shifty partner (Harris) steal a stash of drugs, which puts both of them in the crosshairs of both psychotic criminal boss Novak (McNairy) and casino mogul Rubino (Mulroney). Complicating this, investigator Bryant (Monaghan) is looking into the case with her partner (Harbour), determined to root out dirty cops. And she's sure Vincent is one of them. When his teen son (Johnson) is kidnapped by Rubino, Vincent only has one long night to rescue him, catch the criminals and make sure his name is clear of corruption.

Odar sets an urgent, pulsing tone from the start, barely pausing for breath as the events spiral quickly out of control. There's subtle about the film, which carefully identifies its heroes and villains early on. The story unfolds predictably, generating little interest as it refuses to surprise the audience. Each corny twist merely adds to the empty-headed brutality. At least it's livened up by the slick production, edgy hand-to-hand action and some scene-chomping performances.

At the centre, Foxx doesn't really have a chance. He works hard, rushing around as Vincent faces a series of ludicrous obstacles. But the character is far too undercooked, and he's only sympathetic because he's essentially innocent. Monaghan has an even more difficult time, because Bryant's only redeeming quality is her tenacity, misplaced as it may be. At least she's a strong woman in a sea of tough guys. And there's plenty of enjoyable macho posturing from McNairy's sadistic thug and Mulroney's slimy kingpin.

Everything here is a cliche, including egregious plot points involving guns, mobile phones and keys. We know a scene is supposed to be serious because dialog is spoken in whispery growls. We know it's supposed to be exciting because Michael Kamm's TV-movie score starts throbbing again. There are plenty riotously grisly fistfights along the way, but never a moment of actual suspense. Fans of mindless, gun-happy police procedurals might enjoy it, but audiences have a right to expect a lot more of a movie with a cast of this calibre.

cert 15 themes, language, violence 30.Apr.17

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Sleepless Still waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.

© 2017 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall