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2004 | 2001

1 item from 2004

Too Much Sleep

8 July 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

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.


Shooting Gallery

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


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2004 | 2001

1 item from 2004

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