Tiresome Foxx no hero cop
Swiss director Baran bo Odar’s first mainstream flick sees the 39-year-old remake the 2010 French film of the same name.
Having never seen the original, I cannot state with any fact whether this is an improvement – although given how distinctly average bo Odar’s effort is, it’s hard to envisage it being a superior upgrade.
Jamie Foxx is on leading man duties as Las Vegas-based cop Vincent, whose connection to the criminal underworld sees his son Thomas (Octavius J. Johnson) kidnapped, leading to a frantic showdown with gun-toting drugdealers.
Vincent could have provided Foxx with one of his best roles in years but the former Oscar winner sleepwalks his way through the portrayal of a character blessed with more shades of gray than a certain S&M-loving businessman.
Following on from a recent output that includes The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Annie, it’s worth asking if Foxx’s heart is still in this acting lark.
Andrea Berloff ’s (Straight Outta Compton) screenplay does its best to furnish Vincent with an interesting back story, but Foxx only really comes to life when the bullets and fists start flying.
Argo’s Scoot McNairy – another actor on a bit of a downward slope – makes for one of the least convincing drug barons you’ll ever see; it takes a lot more than slicked back hair to send shivers down an audience’s spine.
One-time rom-com favourite Dermot Mulroney (Rubino) fares slightly better on the dark side of the fence as a slimy entrepreneur with ties to the mob.
Best acting honours, however, go to Michelle Monaghan (Bryant) who more than holds her own in this male-heavy environment as a tough, principled Internal Affairs officer out for justice.
But even those who haven’t seen the French original will feel a serious case of deja-vu when sitting through Sleepless; think of virtually any cop movie and chances are there will be a scene or situation lifted from it here.
That’s not to say there aren’t surprises along the way as Berloff keeps us on our toes and questioning certain characters’ true motivations right up until the final reel.
Bo Odar also proves to be adept at making us wince as his frenetic camerawork and him turning the noise levels up to 11 deliver danger and nasty wounds by the bucket-load.
It’s just unfortunate that the central storyline fails to get pulses racing as by the time Vincent starts putting all the pieces together, you’ll be wishing you’d taken a different jigsaw out of its box.
Disappointing, clichéd and with a flawed hero incapable of rooting for, Sleepless suffers in comparison to even some of the genre’s more mediocre entries.
It may keep you awake during a brisk 95-minute running time, but the stuff of dreams? Far from it.
Taking aimJamie Foxx is put through the ringer in Sleepless