Movie Review: Sleepless

Sleepless is about a corrupt (or undercover) Las Vegas homicide detective, Vincent Downs (Jamie Foxx), who, after stealing drugs from a powerful crime family must rescue his kidnapped son, Thomas (Octavius J. Johnson). The movie tells the story of layers and layers of corruption in the police force and the internal affairs bureau. Vincent and his partner, Sean (T.I.), unwittingly have robbed off a ruthless drug dealer, and as a result, his son is kidnapped by Rubino’s (Dermot Mulroney) men, who promised the drugs (25 kilograms) of cocaine to Novak (Scoot McNairy). In other words, Rubino has promised and was transporting the drugs to Novak when Vincent and Sean have intercepted it and now Novak wants his drugs back. Vincent’s efforts to return the drugs are disrupted by an enthusiastic and tenacious internal affairs officers, Jennifer Bryant (Michelle Monaghan). She along with her reluctant partner Dennison (David Harbour) investigate Vincent and undermine his plans. In addition to fighting for his life, trying to rescue his son and evading the internal affairs investigators he has to dodge the questions about the missing son from his ex-wife, Dena (Gabrielle Union).

As is often the case, the trailer made this movie look much better than it actually was. A movie with a www.imdb.com rating of 5.5. should not be thrilling and, in this case, it definitely wasn’t. It was neither a thriller nor an action movie, just a dull progression from one bland scene to another with filler-dialogue, illogical decisions and some standard fight scenes in between. The movie had no significant emotional depth, the character back-stories were unconvincing and, in general, the movie seemed cold. Moreover, the plot was predictable and even boring.

The movie is a remake of the French crime thriller Sleepless Night and is an English-language debut of Swiss director Baran bo Odar with the screenplay written by Andrea Berloff. I have not seen the original movie but an imdb rating of 6.7 makes me believe it represents a better version of the story. It is disappointing to know that a film starring Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, Dermot Mulroney, Gabrielle Union, Scoot McNairy has been so poor.

To me, it was unclear why Vincent and Sean stole the drugs and also how Rubino found out who stole them. While the decision to film the majority of scenes in a casino/nightclub seems lazy and suffocating, it was funny to see characters running from one end of the casino/nightclub to another with no actual purpose (a sort of comic relief that captured my attention long enough to finish watching the movie). In addition, the twist of the story (who’s actually corrupt) was quite predictable from the get-go and the trailer ruins the story by revealing that Vincent is indeed an undercover officer. I do want to commend the performances of Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, David Harbour Gabrielle Union and especially Scoot McNairy who made the movie much better than it otherwise would have been.

The movie was not expected to be a blockbuster but it is frustrating, that despite minimal expecations, the movie still doesn’t meet them. The characters lacked credibility to make the story convincing, and the film, in general, lacked flair and competency. While I do understand that the movie was an English-language debut for the director, it still is difficult to treat this movie with respect. The movie was not worth the trip to the cinema nor the ticket price. To me, this movie is more of a type that is suitable for a casual, late-night TV viewing session.

In summary, the movie was poor and even comical (because some scenes truly made me laugh). It was a recycled and ‘cliched’ cop-movie with a boring plot, poor directing and unconvincing character chemistry. It was dull, witless and added nothing new to the genre. Perhaps the problem is that the movie takes itself too seriously despite its many flaws and inconsistencies.

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