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Joseph C. Phillips,
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A drug dealer with upscale clientele is having moral problems going about his daily deliveries. A reformed addict, he has never gotten over the wife that left him, and the couple that use him for deliveries worry about his mental well-being and his effectiveness at his job. Meanwhile someone is killing women in apparently drug-related incidents. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
Director Paul Schrader actually sent Willem Dafoe out to observe deals with a real drug dealer as training for this role. When Schrader asked Dafoe if anybody recognized him, Dafoe said he believed some did, but that they were afraid they would not get their drugs if they said anything. See more »
Just wanted to add my two cents worth, mainly regarding where I differ from the other comments.
A few folks complained that the ending was too similar to "American Gigolo" (and may have been, in turn, lifted from a nameless French film).
Well, I haven't seen "Gigolo" since it came out. (At the time, I remember liking it a lot more than most of my friends and most of the critics. I'm a sucker for redemption stories, I guess.) In any case, I've long since forgotten the ending, so that may explain why I found myself so moved by the ending of "Light Sleeper."
I also enjoyed the fact that it wasn't easy to see where things were heading, either in terms of plot or emotions.
But, the tradition of rather strange flaws in Schrader's movies continues, this time a god-awful musical score (sort of 90's era-Springsteen mixed with Robbie Robertson, but in a bad, bad way) that could have destroyed the movie for me -- if it weren't so superb in every other way.
The cast is consistently good and it's nice to see Mr. Intensity, Willem Dafoe, portray an essentially sweet natured, though intense, person for a change -- but I was especially entranced by Susan Sarandon's work toward the end of the film.
I understand that idea of the "drug dealer with heart of gold" may seem like an oxymoron -- but that's part of the point of the film, that our commonplace ways of characterizing our fellow man may not be all that terribly accurate in all situations.
In this light, there's an interesting scene about half-way through the film where a homicide detective questions Dafoe. The dialogue, and even the acting, could have been taken from a thousand movie scenes where a detective questions a sleazy dope peddler -- Dafoe even takes on the traditional body language that we associate with such characters. It's almost as if Dafoe wandered into a more traditional movie starring the detective.
But, knowing what we do about Dafoe's character and why he's not being forthcoming changes entirely the way we view the scene.
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