Director: Baran bo Odar
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, Scoot McNairy, Dermot Mulroney, David Harbour
Running Time: 95 minutes
Release Date: May 5
Sleepless Night is a frenetic and well-executed French/Belgian/Luxembourgian thriller from 2011 where increasing tension and intriguing characters collide over one wildly dangerous evening. Sleepless is a listless American re-tread in which Jamie Foxx scowls and mumbles his way through a script he appears deeply uninterested in and a production that comes from the ‘it’ll do’ school of quality control. If you’re especially fond of helicopter-assisted shots of the Las Vegas skyline at night, the phrase ‘dirty cop’ and limp twists you can spot several scenes in advance, perhaps Sleepless will work for you.
Foxx plays Vincent Downs, a gruff vice lieutenant who may or may not be corrupt – the film can’t even settle that score in satisfactory fashion – first introduced in an act of thievery and murder. He and his partner – played by T.I. with all the charisma of a copy of Reader’s Digest – flee the scene with enough cocaine to enjoy early retirement only for an oily casino owner (Dermot Mulroney of 90s rom-com fame) and a violent, impatient mobster (the great Scoot McNairy) to throw a spanner in the works.
Said instrument is Downs’ teenage son, the product of a failing marriage and the leverage that brings the wounded – he’s stabbed for no real reason other than to give Foxx the chance to take a breather at least once a scene – cop to the aforementioned neon gambling den where his son is being held captive and oh wouldn’t you know it he’s only gone and lost the drugs, too. Cue a SLEEPLESS NIGHT that throws together all of the established players alongside Michelle Monaghan’s hard-bitten Internal Affairs detective and her overbearing-but-charming sidekick David Harbour. You know him because you’ve seen Stranger Things and thought it was the best thing ever even though it’s fine, it’s totally fine and that’s grand but it’s this nostalgia-tinted passiveness that got us Jurassic World so let’s raise our critical thinking in the future, yes?
Everyone’s picking up a pay cheque here. It’s kind of incredible how you can take this premise – implausible as it is – and make it boring, so credit to director Baran bo Odar for grounding everything in such determinedly leaden fashion that even the most cartoonish elements feel rote. Like much of the cast, cinematographer Mihai Mălaimare Jr. is too good to be wasted here but he at least makes Sleepless look pretty, thus elevating it above your standard direct-to-DVD fare. On the acting front, McNairy has fun as a scarred thug with a smattering of daddy issues and mostly everyone acquits himself or herself just fine – well, maybe not the wildly miscast strange void that is Jamie Foxx – but this is a film that all but hands out a cliché bingo card with your ticket. At its best, Sleepless recalls Safe, a highly underrated Jason Statham joint from a few years back that, like the original source material here, you should check out instead of this.
As for the bizarre tease of a sequel that no audience wants and no studio should ever so much as entertain a 10-page pitch for? Yawn.