Before watching Sleepless, I wasn’t aware that it was in fact a remake of a 2011 French film called Nuit Blanche (Sleepless Night). This title makes a lot more sense to the film as he is up all night (a sleepless night). Sleepless sounds like a character study on someone with mental issues who can’t sleep anymore because they are plagued of the ghosts of their past. It does not sound like Jamie Foxx running around a Casino/Nightclub trying to recover his son who is taken as punishment for sticking his nose where it shouldn’t be, namely 25kg of cocaine which belongs to the owner of the casino (Dermot Mulroney) who had promised it to the son of a famous mobster (Scoot McNairy) who is trying to prove his worth to daddy. It also stars Michelle Monaghan as an Internal affairs agent with a thirst for dirty cops’ blood; David Harbour as her partner; Octavius J. Johnson as Foxx’s son and Gabrielle Union as his wife.
Sleepless is directed by Baran Odar and that is one of the biggest problems with the film, there’s nothing to his direction, no flair, nothing to set this apart from any other action film. There are opportunities throughout the film for some good-looking action scenes. I’m imagining Jamie Foxx fighting faceless thugs in a nightclub with strobe lights flashing in our eyes so you’re not 100% sure who is winning until someone hits the ground. But when these opportunities raise their head we move passed them very quickly and ultimately, they are wasted. When I researched the French film this was based on something that kept coming up was ‘Die Hard in a Nightclub’, this sounds incredible to me and there are moments of the film where this is touched upon. But there in this 50-story building an it seems like they only go to maybe 5 floors. I was hoping for a bit more of The Raid sprinkled in there, like he must fight his way up each floor, combatting the obstacles that each new environment brings. But there’s none of that, they manage to make a sky scraper feel like a bungalow. There is a moment where someone says we’ve searched this whole building from top to bottom when they literally have gone to the next floor up and that’s it. However, the film is still quite attractive there are some nice shots of the Vegas skyline and the American motorways. Although not game changing the fight choreography is still good, nonstop, well executed and Foxx pulls it off very well. The final showdown is quite imaginative and will make you sit forward in your seat, even if it is very predictable and has some unnecessary elements.
Although I liked Jamie Foxx in this film there was an absence of dramatic beats for him to work with, which is a big red light in a film where his son is kidnapped. I was looking for him to just shout “They have my son” and completely loose it. But there isn’t any of these scenes to be seen. When you have an Oscar winning actor and all you make him do is running through corridors looking intimidating and getting dirty then you have a problem. He does have some layers and intrigue surrounding his character that make him stand out from the Liam Neesons of the world and lead to you not knowing for sure who’s side he is on. Michelle Monaghan plays the straightest arrow you’ll see, she has a curious backstory that is touched upon which makes you understand what she does and sympathise with what she does. David Harbour is just so cool, no matter what he is in, he rocks. He does have an interesting arc, which I feel is not set up or fleshed out enough. Scoot McNairy is a good and menacing mobster throughout. All things considered, the characters in the film are great, there are good performances all round.
There are a few parts of the film which are quite dumb. People do dumb things, react stupidly to things happening or just don’t make a phone call say one sentence, literally ending the film. People make stupid choices, because the script needs them to, that propel the story forward. Leading to a chase scene or a fight. The film doesn’t really do enough for me to stand out from the homogeny of action films these days there’s no scene that will stick with me but there isn’t anything overwhelmingly negative about the film, just as there is nothing overwhelmingly positive.
What sleepless is, is a perfectly serviceable, slick looking and enjoyable film. You don’t have to think, its more than just dumb fun as it is quite resonating but over all you won’t be rushing to tell your friends that they have to see this or in a rush to see it again and that is why Sleepless is…