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Sleepless Night, the new French action film written and directed by
Frédéric Jardin, combines all the visceral action of a film like Die
Hard, with the suspense and urgency of 24. While the film itself
doesn't stray too far from the standard action formula, it still
manages to take us on fun ride over the course of one crazy night.
Shot almost entirely in what appears to be the largest, most labyrinthine night club in the world, Sleepless Night follows Vincent, a cop who ends up on the wrong side of the law, as he attempts to make things right, and save his kidnapped son. Caught between the gangsters that have his child, and the police that are chasing him down, Vincent needs to make his way through the crowded night club and get himself and his son to safety.
Although this is not an entirely original concept, the execution of the story is expertly done. Within the first minute of the film, we're thrown into the action, which sets the tone for the rest of the movie. It's fast paced and at times frantic, but does let us catch our breath from time to time. The fact that it also takes place over the course of one night, in one centralized location, also adds to the suspenseful nature of the film. Although the club seems to be enormous, with many back hallways and side rooms, it's also very crowded and feels claustrophobic at times, which helps accentuate the frenzy, along with the ever present thumping of the club's music.
Having the entire film take place in this club is an interesting idea, however there are several questions of logic and common sense that are raised. Mainly, the fact that there are numerous gun fights throughout the film, and no one seems to be frightened or call the police. There are also several fights that take place in very public areas, and yet everyone seems to just ignore the fact that men are being killed around them. Personally, if I'm at a club and I hear gunshots, I'm out of there, I don't care if they just started playing that Queen song I love.
Logistical problems aside, this is still a fun movie to watch. The fight scenes are very realistic looking and feel very brutal. Instead of going with meticulously choreographed punches and kicks, Jardin decided to go with a more simple approach. The men who are fighting look like there's a purpose to every punch. They are doing it out of necessity, not because it looks flashy. Vincent does everything within his power to fend off his attackers and get to his son. He uses the environment to his advantage, grabbing at anything and everything that will stop the people trying to kill him.
Sleepless Night does a lot of borrowing from Die Hard, but still manages to stand on it's own as a top notch action film. With an engaging story, and some excellent fight scenes, this is an easy recommendation for any action fan. It's also been recently announced that this film will be getting an American remake, so it's certainly worth checking out before we ruin it with our own version.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Like in his two previous movies , 'The Burma Conspiracy' and 'Largo
Winch', Tomer Sisley delivers a solid performance; he is convincing,
pulls you into his character's corner and you will not only be rooting
for him, you will feel his pain. As much as I enjoyed the previous two
films of Sisley, I was no less engaged here. The movie's premise is
simple, at least at the onset, but then it gets complicated in just the
right measure, as any good thriller ought to. Also, as you'll find in
several top French action thriller, the line between good and bad cop
gets a little blurry, creatively speaking (that's good); there are no
good guys, you might think, only innocent bystanders.
Sisley plays a motivated man like you would expect any 'father trying to rescue his son' type character should; however, this movie brings it to an even higher plateau. You are convinced his character is a cop turned bad, like so many classic cop characters do, and this is strategically intended; he's not. It is easy to miss this important fact, with all the tense action and intense bad guys, and I almost did. At that point, you are even more compelled by the story, but if you don't pay attention, you just might remain unaware he was a good cop until the end when it becomes clear he was a hero times two.
The very high ratings by critics indicate to me they have not missed any of those details. But fear not, regardless if the fast paced action scenes prevent you from catching the little clues, it can still work thanks to a fine 'dénouement' ending; nonetheless, I hope you catch all the clues. Don't drink Red Bull or anything of the sort while viewing this highly charged film; it may be harmful to your health. On the other hand, if you do, you won't miss any of the smart twists.
A very nice movie, with a perfect plot, very good actors and a big direction. An old American movie,"No Way Out", (Italian title is "Senza via di scampo") is in my opinion the most similar movie for rhythm and perfection of the plot. You can't stop to see, and you don't know never how the movie will can finish, can happen absolutely all. And the end is perfect too, a very, very nice and clever solution. The bad guys are very, very bad, there are some little moment of humor and the movie goes without a moment to stop ! Go to see and/or buy the movie if you like the crime-movies, it's surely a masterpiece of this kind! Or wait an year or less to see the remake that surely Hollywood will do very soon, even with Denzel Washington in the lead-role...
The latter years I've gotten more and more impressed with French action
movies. At least those I've come too see here in Norway, and that's
quite a few. I would go so far as saying that the French are now the
leading action flick makers, and by far has passed both the Americans
and the Brits. The French movies I've seen recently is full of action,
we'll played and has a great touch of realism, which very often is not
the case with the films coming out of Hollywood.
This film, "Sleepless night", is about to be remade in Hollywood I understand, and there's really no wonder why. This is action from start to finish, and the best action I've seen since "Headhunters". It's tight, exciting, down right dirty action, and still very realistically told. It's a drug heist gone wrong, exploding into a nightmare. Many of there has been with corrupt cops, which is a great genre in itself amongst these films. I guess it's a great premise that you don't know who you can trust, or rather, like in this. You know who you can't trust. Anyone!
We meet a divorced cop getting into trouble after a rather bad decision. He is seen after committing a theft of a load of drugs. As a direct following if this, his beloved teenage son is kidnapped by the gangster missing their drugs. This starts off a nightmare which you really shouldn't miss!
A roller coaster of bad decisions and bad people. Filmed in dirty raw, grainy film, stressed music, with hand-held camera, which I've rarely seen more well done. Not annoying, just realistically adding to the nerve of the story. A treat of a film which sucks you up right from the start. I'll keep checking out French action movies!
OK. If your reading the reviews and people are telling you this movie is average or not good they are way off!! This movie has everything you want in a good flick. Love, fear, violence,a good twist and action. Its all woven together in to a plot that leaves you gripping the hand(s) of a loved one in anticipation of what will happen next. You will never guess who are the good guys and who are the bad guys as you watch this man in pursuit of what means everything to him. Watch how relentless he is, no matter the obstacle, no matter the threat, no matter the pain, and no matter the consequences.In the end you find out why this man is really being perused and you become even more touched by his sleepless night...
This is one of those pictures that picks you up, drags you along, wringing you out all the way and leaves you gasping at the end. Somewhere along the way there was a plot, I think, but it was so complicated that it was difficult to follow, what with all the action. The kitchen of the night-club takes a terrible drubbing and gets dripped with blood all over, about five men are brutally shot dead and one is finished off by being manually suffocated by, yes, the bad guy, whom we thought throughout was the good guy. But the pretty little female detective has seen through him as a result of messages on her (unbeknownst to her, stolen) cell-phone. She's shot, but yes she lives and just with one look of hers, you know that she will pursue him and testify against him and ruin his life and send him to prison for many, many years. It's a great picture and congratulations to the directer, who also wrote it. BTW, it's yet another low-budget picture of shatteringly high quality that makes Hollywood's $400 million budgets look absolutely ridiculous.
The action in "Sleepless Night" is intense, sure. However, it is not a
fight filled, guns blazing extravaganza. The US trailer and comments
gave this movie credit with being a mix of Die Hard, 24, and Taken.
However, it is much better than Taken, more intelligent than Die Hard,
and more unnerving than 24.
Tomer Sisley plays Vincent, a cop who moves cocaine for a drug kingpin. However, things take a turn for the worse and Vincent's son is kidnapped by Marciano, the kingpin. Vincent must enter Marciano's nightclub and outsmart the thugs and crooked cops who are both trying to track down Vincent. Sisley's performance is physical and real, his face is often twisted in pain or sadness, or violent rage. His acting impressed me more than all other aspects of the movie.
The setting takes place almost entirely in a nightclub, where Vincent is searching for his son while trying to search for the hidden drugs which he must give to Marciano in exchange for his boy. Never have crowds of ordinary people played such an important part in a film. The crowds on the dance floor, stairs, and bathrooms all play significant parts in the film. I felt claustrophobic just watching Vincent try to swim through a mess of bodies numerous times. The lighting and music creates a seemingly frantic pace, of which the movie already has plenty. Another highlight is the fight between Vincent and fellow cop Manuel. It is a very realistic and brutal one. It turns into a desperate, devastating fight where both men are exhausted physically and mentally after wards. They utilize numerous kitchen items and the landscape to try and better one another. There is no fancy fight moves or wall climbing, only ferocity and violence in this fight.
I was impressed with the acting and location. The plot is average, but the cast helps elevate it, and you are genuinely concerned for Vincent an his son's well being. It is in French with English subtitles, and I'm glad there was no awful dubbing as is what usually happens. It is a good action movie that impresses with its cinematography and acting. Well worth a viewing or more, especially if you enjoy films like Die Hard or Taken. It more than deserves a spot next to them on the shelf.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was surprised not to see more reviews for this film so thought I would add my own short one. The film is set in a nightclub, albeit quite an unrealistic one with people bopping to Queen one moment then hardcore techno the next. The action scenes dominate the film and the one set in the kitchens is really superb, a masterpiece in fact. Other than that the films is very watchable albeit quite daft as in real life the club would have been emptied quite quickly with all the violence going on. Also it seems more like a big hotel complex than a night club with the kitchens, casino etc.The lead actor is very charismatic and makes the film so you keep watching despite the silly and unrealistic parts, like the bad guy cop getting his head smashed in and falling off a balcony down a flight of steps then being OK 15 minutes later. Enjoy, I did!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Exciting, fast paced, surprising, everything is wonderful in this high
scale french crime flick. Everything. There is no love story for
sissies here. Only a tale of rotten cops vs a handful of thugs in
search for a drug shipment. All the action takes place in a night club
You find here no "good" character, except a supporting one, ONLY ONE.
Yes folks. It's unusual, isn'it?
A female cop.
All the other characters are not really sympathetic, not at all. Even the lead: Tomer Sisley, who gives here a better performance than in LARGO WINCH crap. Yes, I love this movie, the "crossing" between the different characters, two groups of gangsters and the different rotten cops. All this brilliantly made mix up gives a very entertaining, fast paced story, with an editing that keeps you stuck to your seat. The screenplay is a little masterpiece. Julien Boisselier is here a better bad guy than in LES GARDIENS DE L'ORDRE. Boisselier with his good son in law face.
Joey Starr is of course a terrific mobster.
Don't miss this film. It's in the line of A BOUT PORTANT. The new kind of french thriller.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Sleepless Night" opens with a drug heist gone wrong, which should
already give you an idea of the kind of movie it is. Two masked robbers
aggressively drive up to a car in the middle of the street, in which
are two drug carriers with a duffle bag containing around ten kilos of
cocaine. The masked robbers pull guns on the carriers and order them to
retrieve the bag. One of the carriers is shot dead, but not before he
stabs the robber in his side and taking off his mask, exposing him to
public view. The other one escapes. It's at this point we learn that
the robbers are actually cops. The one that was stabbed is named
Vincent (Tomer Sisley). He also happens to be the one that orchestrated
the heist. The one that let the other carrier escape is named Manuel
(Laurent Stocker). They know they have to go to the scene and at least
attempt to cover their tracks.
As this is being established, we learn that Vincent has a teenage son named Thomas (Samy Seghir). The two are not on the best terms; Vincent, always working, is never around. He drops Thomas off at school, the two having had an argument. Later in the day Vincent's ex-wife, Julia (Catalina Denis), calls in a panic, as Thomas hasn't been answering his cell phone. Initially, Vincent believes that there's nothing to worry about. But then he gets a call from Thomas' cell phone; on the other end is Vincent's underworld connection, a mob boss named Jose Marciano (Serge Riaboukine). Thomas has been kidnapped. Jose is very upset with Vincent. Not only was he recognized in the heist by a bystander, he also has the bag of cocaine. Thomas' life depends on Vincent delivering the bag to Jose's nightclub by the end of the night.
Vincent has every intention of delivering, much to the chagrin of Manuel, who has debts that need to be erased. Vincent infiltrates Jose's nightclub with the bag and promptly hides it above a ceiling tile in a men's room stall. Unbeknownst to him, he has been followed by another cop named Vignali (Lizzie Brochere), who traces his steps, finds the bag, and moves it into a spot just above a ladies' room stall. Her superior is a cop named Lacombe (Julien Boisselier), who has an understanding with the desperate Manuel. Lacombe's job is to sniff out corrupt cops, which would be fine except that he's a zealot and an absolute jerk. Vincent does not yet know he's involved, but it well aware of who Lacombe is, and he can sense early on that he and Manuel are already in trouble.
It's at this point that the film becomes a monotonous series of tense exchanges and action sequences. Vincent finally meets with Jose, who then allows Thomas to catch a glimpse of his father. Vincent returns to the men's room, discovers that the bag of cocaine is missing, and in a panic storms into the club's kitchen and forces two cooks to fill dozens of Ziploc bags with flour. Jose meets with the Turkish carriers the cocaine is supposed to be delivered to, and yet another series of tense exchanges take place. Vincent rescues his son, only for him to be promptly recaptured. There are many scenes in which Vincent frantically darts through various sections of the club, from the main room to the adjoining restaurant to the upstairs rooms to the kitchen. The latter is the setting for a physical altercation between Vincent and Lacombe, one that was allowed to go on much longer than it should have.
I think part of the problem here is that the plot comes off as a means to an end, namely an excuse to overload the final act with action sequences. There's nothing innately wrong with action, although I am bothered when it amounts to little more than displays of kinetic energy. It becomes less about the situation and more about the violence, the choreography, the unsteady camera-work, the standoffs, and the gunshots. It becomes a technical exercise when it should have remained a story. When the film does stop to take a breath, we notice that Vincent is continuing to nurse his stab wound. This means, obviously, that it's not just a matter of saving Thomas; it's a matter of saving him before time runs out.
The climax of the film, which I will not spoil for you, is more emotional than it is narrative. There is something to be said for taking that approach, but only when it's done well. Here, we're left with the unshakable feeling that more needed to be said before the final credits started rolling. The loose ends were left untied. Here is a film in which you want full resolution, if for no reason other than it seems appropriate given the material. "Sleepless Night" gets off to an adequate start and is in general not a bad film, but I do feel that it could have tried for something a little less mechanical. It's at heart the story of a father trying to rescue his son, so I see no reason why the filmmakers had to rely so heavily on unnecessary displays of frenetic activity. Less action and more character would have been a good place to start.
-- Chris Pandolfi (www.atatheaternearyou.net)
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