Movie’s plotline shot to pieces
THIS is the kind of movie we’re talking about when we say remakes are the devil’s work. Sleepless, starring Jamie Foxx and directed by Baran bo Odar, is an adaptation of the 2011 French thriller, Sleepless Night. But to call it a remake is inaccurate. It is an Americanization of the film and the result is the equivalent of taking a fine three-course meal and substituting it for the dull humdrum of fast food.
In this version, Foxx stars as corrupt Las Vegas cop Vincent Downs, a heavy drinker, bad dad and depressed from a failed marriage. Is anyone surprised yet?
After he and his partner Sean (played by rapper T.I.) swipe a stash of cocaine, and its owner is not happy. He in return kidnaps Vincent’s son and the cop is forced to do whatever he has to get his son back.
The compression of time is what the film struggles with the most. It does too much over too short a period, instead of picking the scenes that matter and opening them up.
Odar has decided to pick the greatest hits from an assembly line of plot devices, yet they barely hold together and some of the narrative inconsistencies range from minor to alarming.
That Vincent spends most of the film suffering from what should be a fatal stab wound and only acknowledges it when it suits him, made me wonder why Odar felt we didn’t deserve nice things. Are we a joke to him?
Sleepless is also let down by having too many villains and antagonists, that you’re never really too sure who to focus on.
For instance, we learn that the son’s kidnapper is only going to such extremes because he, too, has to hand over the drugs to a bigger, more ruthless boss. This is an unnecessary step when one perfectly rendered villain would have been enough. Instead, we’re subjected to two half-baked ones.
Not only does Vincent have to deal with the kidnapper, he is also forced to fend off the attention of internal affairs officer Jennifer Bryant, who suspects that Vincent is no good and is out to catch him red-handed.
As Jennifer, actress Michelle Monaghan tries to fuel some life into what is an empty character. A predictable “strong woman” operating in an environment committed to excluding her. I am falling asleep just writing this.
Foxx’s greatest gift is one of unexpected humour. In Sleepless, however, he is cornered into attempting a grittiness that is senseless and difficult to enjoy.
After watching the film, I googled the director and discovered that it was one person, not a pseudonym for a group of people. Surprising, because Sleepless unfolds like a film directed by three people where only one of them is any good.
There are occasional moments of genuine pleasure in some of the chase sequences, and you can see that the film was trying a throwback to the beautiful, senseless spectacle of ’90s action flicks, but it still remains rooted in the present.
Unfortunately, this is no John Wick.