1 item from 2004
In writer-director David Maquiling's "Too Much Sleep", a gun gets stolen from a hapless security guard, and he goes in search of the weapon. We might expect such a trail to lead us through a noirish underworld of crime and nefarious characters. Instead, Maquiling propels us through a trailer park, a bowling alley, parking lots, dull parties, even duller bars and a Chinese restaurant in the sleepy suburbs of New Jersey where our hero encounters a bunch of oddball nonentities.
Underwhelming in story line and a little too precious in its strategies, "Sleep" is art house in the extreme. Opening today in urban markets as part of Shooting Gallery's spring film series, "Sleep" should mirror its protagonist's underachiever status.
In the film's opening moments, Maquiling firmly establishes the relevance of the title to his main character. Jack Crawford (Marc Palmieri), a 24-year-old night watchman, sleeps most of his off-duty hours. Even awake, Jack is a passive, emotionally inert drone with no life and little ambition. The theft of his gun, which occurs on a bus when he gets distracted by a good-looking woman (Nicol Zanzarella), energizes him somewhat because he needs the revolver for his job. But he can't go to the police because he never bothered to register the firearm.
A buddy hooks him up with a retired city commissioner named Eddie (Pasquale Gaeta), who consults his police cronies. Eddie quickly tracks down the older woman Judy Sabo Podinker) who conned Jack on the bus. Initially, she refuses to acknowledge him. Then she sends him to another address where she says somebody may be able to help him.
Thus begins a series of encounters with local oddballs -- senior citizens, gabby partygoers, diffident matrons, uncaring bartenders and a nondescript movie house manager. Maquiling, making his feature debut after a series of award-winning shorts, tries to wring humor from these encounters through the deadpan acting and almost surreal manner in which all the self-absorbed characters drift so cluelessly through life.
Yet when everyone behaves the same way and each episode comes off more or less like the last -- or the next -- such a one-note sonata drones rather than builds. As a director, Maquiling accomplishes what he set out to do. A few will read this as acute satire. Many more will probably find the movie tedious.
Technically, the film goes in for some overexposed cinematography, drab interiors and a low-key, tuneful soundtrack that works well with the director's deliberately flat style. No production or costume designer is credited by the production companies. According to the director, he and co-producer Michele Medina performed those tasks.
TOO MUCH SLEEP
Open City Films, Angelika Entertainment
Director-screenwriter: David Maquiling
Producers: Jason Kliot, Joana Vicente
Executive producer: Angelika Saleh, Barney Oldfield
Director of photography: Robert Mowen
Music: Mitchell Toomey
Co-producers: Michele Medina, David Maquiling
Editor: Jim Villone
Jack Crawford: Marc Palmieri
Eddie: Pasquale Gaeta
Kate: Nicol Zanzarella
Andrew: Philip Galinsky
Judy: Judy Sabo Podinker
Running time -- 83 minutes
No MPAA rating
1 item from 2004
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