Miles, a nebbishy clarinet player who also runs a health food store in NYC's Greenwich Village, is cryogenically frozen, and brought back - 200 years in the future, by anti-government radicals in order to assist them in their attempt to overthrow the oppressive government. When he goes off on his own, he begins to explore this brave new world, which has Orgasmatron booths to replace sex and confessional robots.Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
Comedic character actor George Furth makes an uncredited appearance, as one of the guests at Luna's party. Furth (who was Jewish) is wearing an inverted Nazi Swastika on his chest, which he contrasts by wearing a Tallit, a traditional Jewish prayer shawl complete with fringes, over it. See more »
The Volkswagen's battery would have long since died. See more »
Look, you gotta be kidding. I wanna go back to sleep! If I don't get at least 600 years, I'm grouchy all day.
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Miles Monroe (director Allen), a health food store owner and jazz clarinetist, goes to a hospital for a routine operation, but something goes wrong and he is put to cryogenic sleep for over 200 years. When he is woken up in the 22nd century, the society has changed into a pleasure-addicted dictatorship. Miles is immediately pulled into revolutionary activity and soon has to flee the state police on his way to the mysterious ruler of the society. He also finds himself teaming up with an initially reluctant woman called Luna (Diane Keaton) and together they adventure through the futuristic society.
The comedic style of Sleeper is an entertaining combination of over-the-top farce and Allen's usual verbal jabs at the society of the 20th century. The silly jazz music accompanying the bumbling chase scenes evokes memories from the silent era (some scenes are even sped-up), and the old masters of slapstick have clearly been a major influence to the style. There are also many references to more modern works of science fiction, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Nineteen Eight-Four. Besides the funny farcical scenes, Allen gets to perform his classic neurotic worrying routine that works fine and will amuse fans of his on-screen persona.
A very notable aspect of the film is its visual style: the sets and props all look excellent. The futuristic houses, round vehicles, stiff servant robots, gigantic fruits and even an unruly pudding look hilarious and the many details of the society provide chances to comment on how things are advancing in our times. Be it an orgasm-machine or nonsensical poetry, they seem to suggest we are moving towards times where ignorance revels and empty pleasure-hunting is celebrated as the only correct form of bliss; it can be said that the underlying themes of Sleeper are not unlike those of Aldous Huxley's classic novel Brave New World.
Social commentary aside, Sleeper is also a very funny comedy that appeals not only to friends of Allen's neurotic shtick but also to slapstick fans and admirers of creative production design. Diane Keaton also deserves praise for her performance that features all the necessary comical energy and makes a good pairing for the protagonist Miles. In brief, I laughed out loud several times and would rank the film highly among the handful of Allen films I've seen so far. As far as sci-fi comedies go, Sleeper is a definite winner.
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