Monday, March 12, 2018

Film Review: Sleepless (2017)

Sleepless (Review)
United States/2017
Format Viewed for Review: Showtime
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"A lot of it seems phoned in, which is very disappointing."

A cop searches for his kidnapped son in a Las Vegas nightclub crawling with powerful drug dealers...

Sleepless follows Vincent Downs (Jamie Foxx), an LVMPD officer. Along with his partner Sean, Vincent robs an expensive shipment of cocaine belonging to nightclub owner Stanley Rubino, who planned on selling those drugs to a powerful mobster named Rob Novak (Scoot McNairy). Everything seems to be going well until Vincent's son is kidnapped by Rubino and he's forced to return the drugs. Unfortunately for Vincent, he is also being targeted by an annoying Infernal Affairs investigator, Jennifer Bryant (Michelle Monaghan), who interferes with the exchange and places Vincent's son in further danger. So, Vincent runs around the casino trying to save his son. It sounds like it has many twists and turns, but it's pretty predictable. Up to its end, it follows a very generic formula—you always know when a 'twist' is going to hit.

Sleepless is a remake of Sleepless Night, which I watched and enjoyed a long time ago. This remake is not as impressive or entertaining, unfortunately. It is fast-paced, it has a fairly engaging story despite its reliance on clichés, and there are some solid action sequences scattered throughout the movie, but it just feels... soulless. It doesn't have any oomph to it. It plays out exactly as you expect it to, which makes it feel like it's following a list of 'rules.' Yes, I understand: there is no such thing as an original idea today. Still, there is such a thing as original direction and storytelling—and this movie doesn't have that. It feels like it was phoned in. Aside from that, the film also suffers from weak characters and a few technical flaws, which I'll get into in the next paragraph. (Right down there.)

The acting is surprisingly mediocre. I understand that it's part of his character, but Jamie Foxx was so boring and lethargic. There was no energy or personality in his performance. Michelle Monaghan plays one of the most cliché characters on the planet—and she still manages to overact most of her scenes. And, of course, you have T.I., who can occasionally deliver a decent performance but fails to do so in this film. I think Scoot McNairy was the only person who actually put any effort in this film. The film was shot well, at least. I liked the music, too, but it was overwhelming at times. It played during moments where it wasn't necessary and, because of that, it often didn't match the mood of the film. The screenplay was written by Andrea Berloff and directed by Baran bo Odar. Berloff's writing is safe and lifeless. It works in delivering the story, but it takes no risks, relying on tropes and cliché characters. Odar's direction fares a bit better. He clearly knows how to craft a fast-paced thriller. I would love to see him work with a more engaging and exciting screenplay.

Overall, Sleepless is a decent movie. It's not exactly a great movie, especially if you're familiar with the genre, but it's a solid time killer. Just don't expect a top-notch, high-quality experience here. A lot of it seems phoned in, which is very disappointing.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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