Sleepless - A Thriller That's Not Thrilling
By Ashley Northey

Posted on: 17 Sep 2017

Cast: Jamie Foxx, Michelle Moynahan, Scoot McNairy, Dermot Mulroney, T.I & David Harbour
Director: Baran bo Odar
Cert: 15

The Story: After being a very naughty boy and stealing drugs from the wrong bad guy, Las Vegas policeman Vincent, pays the price and his son Thomas is abducted. He won't get any sleep tonight until he returns the swag in order to save his life. Oh my.

Sleepless is Swiss director Baran bo Odar's Hollywood debut. His last film, techno thriller Who Am I topped the German box office in 2014, whilst his first The Silence was also critically well received. Based on the film Nuit Blanche (Sleepless Night), Odar was handed the biggest budget of his career to date ($30 million estimated) and gifted a great cast.

Sadly, upon its January release in the US it flopped, taking a little over $8 million and ending up with a total domestic gross of just $21 million. It popped up in UK cinemas back in May of this year and fared little better. It's not a terrible film; in fact it's extremely well made with some rousingly choreographed fight scenes and a solid opening car chase, but the characters are as thin as the paper they were written on.

Foxx's cop Vincent suffers the usual law enforcement cliché of a failed marriage and a kid angry at him for not being around. When he and his corrupt partner Sean (T.I) steal 25 kilos of cocaine from local casino owner Rubino (Mulroney - always good), it brings heat from the slightly on edge Internal Affairs officer Bryant (Moynahan) her partner Dennison (Harbour) and the scene stealing Scoot McNairy as daddies little drug dealer Novak.

The action is set predominately in the casino, which should allow for some claustrophobic, nail-biting set pieces. What we actually get is a lot of running around, interspersed with punch-ups and a failure to deliver any significant thrills. One of the films main problems is Vincent; he's not a character I was able to root for, at all. Jamie Foxx is usually a great screen presence, but here we get a latter-day Bruce Willis style of phoned in performance. Even when he's banging the steering wheel of his car in anger after his kid is taken, he just doesn't sell it.

Its McNairy's drug dealer who is the best thing here, raising the average material he’s given. His baddie is devoid of the usual ticks and gimmicks and lives in fear of his crime boss father, who we never see or hear.

For those looking for a Saturday night piece of fluff entertainment to be enjoyed over a few beers, this may be the movie for you. Everyone else avoid.

The Verdict: 2/5
An average actioner barely elevated by a superb cast, it’s a real shame this one misses the mark.

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