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Chasing Sleep
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Reviews & Ratings for
Chasing Sleep More at IMDbPro »

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Index 54 reviews in total 

25 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Real or Imaginary?

8/10
Author: TheLobotomyKid from Belfast
24 January 2005

This is a great example of a movie that doesn't conform to Hollywood conventions. It is essentially about a man who awakes to realise his wife hasn't come home from work the day before, and what happens to him during the day while he waits for the police. The movie never leaves the man's house, apart from a very short scene in a hospital, and contains no soundtrack. By doing this it creates more tension than if it had a typical Hollywood soundtrack, made up of the usual scary music and screeching sounds. Also as the house begins to fall apart, it becomes more and more claustrophobic. The fact that the storyline is fluid and ambiguous could infuriate or bore some people, however it is chilling without resulting to blood or gore, and never even gives any real answers. Though nowhere near as good, it resembles a David Lynch movie, in that it challenges conventions of plot, and remains ambiguous throughout. Don't watch for any out and out shocks, but it is a movie that will grow on you, and one that you'll still be thinking about later.

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33 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

simply brilliant

10/10
Author: Jonas Kyratzes from the back corner of the dark room at the bottom of your mind
10 February 2003

Chasing Sleep is one of the best movies I've seen lately. Its creepy, disturbing atmosphere is as good as anything David Lynch has ever done. The lighting and camerawork are beyond incredible. Very slow, well-paced, gentle on the eyes, and still disturbing and powerful. The acting is subtle and very convincing. I wish Jeff Daniels would get more roles like this one. He's a great actor. The other actors in this movie are good, too. The script is fascinating and definitely makes you think, without using any tired plot devices and clichés.

One thing that I particularly liked about the movie is that it never gets boring, not even for a second. This is quite rare, especially in a movie that is so slow.

10/10

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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Excellent movie, something refreshing!

Author: Sebastien Cholette (leroyaume@hotmail.com) from Québec, Québec
7 August 2002

I was astonished. It has been a really long time since I've seen a movie that good. Everything here works like magic. I mean, the screenplay, the actors, the moods, the dialogues and most of all, the cinematography are all astonishing. This is a REAL movie and I really can't understand why my friend up above (or under) me gave it a poor review. This is the kind of cinema that reconciles me with Americain films. I've always loved Hollywood, but they have gone too far. This one is different. No big budget, no big Hollywood machine, just plain and simple movie making, and it works. Chasing Sleep is a really good movie, don't pass on the opportunity to see it. I don't think everyone will enjoy it, it's not an action movie or a comedy, but please, but open minded. This one is worth the 90 minutes your ass is on the couch!

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17 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Abstract but logical

Author: (kubrickx) from U.S.
16 January 2002

Chasing Sleep is more of an artistic endeavour through symbolism rather than a straightforward story. The average audience would find this film pointless and boring, though if one were to be open minded to its abstract ideas, they would find a deeply disturbing and interesting exploration into a character, and the study there of. The symbolic names add to the themes: George SIMIAN - relating to the primitive actions which the character embarks in, like an ape. Ed SAXON - relating to the evolved society, as in the character resorting to much less physical action.

Statments of societal conflicts are more represented than spoonfed to the audience. Though Ed is more advanced in his projection of self, he resorts to the advancements of man (the pills) to drown his worries, due to his wife's infidelities. The surreal scenes are paramount to tuning the audience in on the character's paranoia and past actions.

The sparse dialogue is often Kubrickian, and the dark imagery is somewhat Lynchian, while the story is quite Poe-esque (it seems to borrow a bit from The Tell Tale Heart). The slow disintigration of the house represents the character's disintigration of mind, his paranoia and conscience are eating away at him, because he is not a murderer or malicious man. But it also works on different levels where as it hints at the idea that his wife was murdered in the house itself and buried inside the walls - which also represents the burying of these memories in Ed's mind. If one would pay close attention to every action in the film, one would be able to decipher the actual story unveiling in reality while the character is drenched in his surreal world.

This film is abstract, and subjective in it's intention to involve the audience more than entertain. Perhaps some character's only exist in Ed's mind. It is for the audience to decide. While a film maker has the creative freedom to project their own ideas into something, they also must give enough for the audience to use their own imagination to create what happens according to them. Chasing Sleep gives the audience the power to use (like reading a book) rather than just be lost in some spoonfeeding frenzy.

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19 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Probably better if you haven't seen "Lost Highway" before

7/10
Author: Topher-26 from Antibes, France
4 February 2003

This is a pretty good thriller. Better than I expected. However, ahem... you can't help but see the director's influences... I mean, David Lynch's "Lost Highway" (the punch in the face waking the protagonist from his daze, the way he vanishes into dark hallways, and many more details...), Christopher Nolan's "Following"(not for the structure of the story but more for the direction, dialogues, etc.) and occasionally Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" (especially the bathtub creature episode).

Despite the gathering of borrowed imagery, this film still develops an obvious personal style and a precise direction. All in all, a very good first film owing also a lot to Jeff Daniels's performance. Hopefully, the next one will be less obviously influenced.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

It's a little hard to sit through because it's supposed to be.

10/10
Author: pmoe from boston MA
3 April 2001

It's a little hard to sit through because it's supposed to be. Stilted editing, a sparse sound track, dreamy plot, prescription drug abuse, creepy and heavy-handed symbols keep the viewer in an uncomfortable place right through to the end, when wonderfully horrible scenes finally and completely rip open the fabric of what was the film's debatable reality.

Chasing Sleep adds star power and production value to the style of film making Walker introduced with his 1995 indie short film, "Pie Eater" which ended with a shagged-out diabetic fat lady making love to a pie headed man in a tuxedo (no joke).

Kafka-esque with a sick sense of humor, "Chasing Sleep" is a pretty admirable freshman feature from Walker. Jeff Daniels is excellent as an unshaven English professor losing touch with reality. Emily Bergl offers some decent acting and skin.

All in all, pleasantly disconcerting. I'd sit through more if I had the chance.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Great performance by Jeff Daniels in moody psycho-thriller.

8/10
Author: Hjalte Brasen from Copenhagen, Denmark
24 February 2002

Jeff Daniels stars as a University Professor who wakes up early one morning alone in bed. His wife hasn't come home from work the previous day and he is of course very worried. As time passes the tension rises and one begins to suspect that the professor knows more than he tells the police - or maybe he just doesn't remember what has happened. The movie is extremely slow moving which adds to the husbands sense of despair as his world comes crashing down. This is very nicely visualized in the professors house, where big holes are opening up in the ceilings and the walls with water dripping out and creates a feeling of a man slowly drowning. It may not be an easy film to like but it appealed strongly to me and Daniels' performance is nothing short of breathtaking. I gave it an 8.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Yet another interpretation

5/10
Author: John Lucas (eniac) from Lakeland, FL
24 May 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

*** Spoilers ***

Chasing Sleep is one of those movies becoming very subjective for every viewer. Here are some of the questions that come to mind:

1. How many characters are real people in the movie? - Are the cops real? - Is the college girl real? - Are the neighbors real? At all times? - Is the pill prescribing doctor real? - How bout the worried friend or adulterer?

2. Where is the wife? - Did she leave the insomniac for the gym teacher? - Is she buried in the woods? - Was she disassembled and stuffed in the plumbing? - Maybe she never existed in the first place?

What are our clues?

- We immediately start with an insomniac that may be sleep starved beyond imagination. See the movie "Insomniac" with Al Pacino and Robin Williams.

- Because of the character's sleep-starved state, hallucinations run rampant. The first obvious clue is the phone call from the detective stating that the wife was found dead in the woods; it is revealed that the vivid phone call never took place. We now have an opportunity to place the character's mental condition to that of the character in "A Beautiful Mind."

- Implausibility of supporting characters

* Based on clues, routine detective work would have focused on the husband early, presenting a search warrant that would have broken the chain of suspicious activities. Therefore, we conclude that the detective was an hallucination. As well, the 911 voice was unlike any 911 operator you would ever encounter. Which in turn would make the entire missing person report an hallucination. Which in turn makes the doctor fictional.

* The college girl. The odds are quite opposed to this reality. We know that the character may have been a reader of Hustler magazine, concluding his state of fantasy. Supporting this was the image of the neighbors lovemaking, also implausible. Maybe this supporting character was designed as a retaliation against his wife, returning adultery for adultery.

I think we get the picture, though not all questions are answered.

I see this movie as follows:

* The character has a REAL wife who is having an affair with another man. He cannot deal with the reality of losing his wife to another man. No doubt, he found the diary revealing how his wife really feels about him.

* He loses his mind and kills his wife, disposing her in the house plumbing.

* This depravity escalates into a state of insomnia, which in turn causes severe mental illness, spurred on by immense guilt.

* In this state of mental illness, the man is haunted by ghosts in his imagination. He tries to deny reality of what he did, yet all the more being tormented and confronted by his hideous deed.

* Most, or all, supporting characters are hallucinations, much like depicted in "A Beautiful Mind," except these hallucinations have a mission to expose a murderous mind.

* Ed Saxon finally realizes his depravity and is overwhelmed, totally disabled, by his guilt.

* Sooner or later, the real cops will come and arrest the character, charging him with the brutal murder of his wife.

Yet another interpretation

I give the movie a 6.5 out of 10 for my interpretation, and 4 out of 10 if the characters are not hallucinations.

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12 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Ahhh! To sleep,perchance to nightmare...

4/10
Author: LilsZoo2 from Atlanta, GA
22 November 2001

Married Professor(Jeff Daniels) awakes from the only sleep we see, to find his wife missing. Only thing is, he's missing time, too. He's been severely sleep deprived before we even enter the scene and the wreckage that's been left behind is all we have to follow. It's an excruciating journey into a mind unraveling from a crime, too unbelievable and too horrific to be possible. The film also makes good comment on a Society so pill-laden, that the use of psycho-tropic drugs is common place and is used to deal with our day to day existence rather than with our real emotional selves. Our Professor, who, never leaves his downtrodden, filthy household is a representation of the stultifying damage that can occur during severe depression. And that the fragile thing that keeps us all connected, can be damaged, even if by only one other, in deep despair.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

"Chasing Sleep" A Real Pill *1/2

5/10
Author: edwagreen from United States
1 April 2006

Too bad that Jeff Daniels, an excellent actor, can't get better parts. He showed so much promise as Shirley MacLaine's son-in-law in "Terms of Endearment." Come on, Hollywood. You can do better than this for Mr. Daniels.

Daniels is a college professor here who finds that his wife, a music teacher, is missing. He alternately hallucinates due to a lack of sleep. He even dreams that his wife has been found dead. Maybe, this is wishful thinking on his part.

We discover that the Mrs. has been having an affair with a gym teacher in her school and is pregnant. To add to the mayhem, a student, named Sadie Crumb, comes over to find out why the college professor hasn't been showing up to class. When Daniels doesn't show up for 2 days, his response to the college secretary, calling to tell him that the dean wants to see him, is memorable.

What should the police believe when they find Sadie's bloody clothing on the scene? Incidentally, she had a nosebleed while at the professor's house.

Daniels spends most of the time in this movie in the toilet wiping away blood and possible body parts. This is mainly where the script should have placed as well.

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