Full of twists and turns, cruel drug dealers and tons of crazy fights, it doesn’t disappoint in the action department.
When I was 11 or 12 the local YMCA started hosting these overnight “lock-ins” where kids could go and do all kinds of things like swimming, and watching cartoons on a giant screen set up in one of the gyms. We played arcade games, billiards, darts, basketball and dodge ball. You name it, we did it. They served us as all the pizza and pop that we could handle. From 9pm until 3 or 4 in the morning (or for some of us whenever our bodies couldn’t take it anymore) we would just run around a 4 story building having the time of our lives. Sleepless Night reminded me of these lock-ins from my youth.
Sleepless Night does not take place at the YMCA and is not full of kids having the time of their lives. A lot of them are for sure dancing the night away, but certainly not the main character. Sleepless Night does however take place the majority of its runtime in one setting over the period of a night. A massive dance club in the heart of Paris is the primary setting. The story goes late into the night and features a cop, who’s essentially locked in, racing through the club for hours on end to right his wrong.
Sleepless Night is unrelenting. Apart from the opening 5 minutes, the film takes place in one day and apart from the opening 15 minutes and the final 10, the entire film takes place at this night club. But most of these minutes are in first gear as the movie almost never lets up the pace. Sleepless Night was featured as a part of TIFF’s Midnight Madness program, a good choice if you ask me. Full of twists and turns, downright cruel drug dealers and tons of crazy fights, it doesn’t disappoint in the action department.
The film starts out in the early morning on a Paris street. Two masked men carrying automatic weapons hold up a car with two other men. They are carrying a very big black bag that the weapon wielding men want. A shootout ensues and the masked men get away with the bag. We find out these robbers are actually a couple of cops. The bag they stole is full of drugs. Lots of drugs.
One of the cops is our hero, Vincent. I use the term hero loosely because he’s a dirty cop. At the same time, you can’t help but root for him. The actor (Tomer Sisley) portraying him has an innocent face and he’s fairly likeable. Vincent gets a call one day from a man who claims to have his son and wants his drugs back. When he gets his drugs, Vincent can have his son. He is told to bring the drugs to his nightclub.
I read a review that said the nightclub was as big as a Wal-Mart. That description is not far off. This club is huge. A dance floor that features hundreds of people dancing and multiple levels of bars, casinos and hidden rooms where drug deals and other evil deeds are done.
Vincent brings the bag of drugs to the club but hides it in the ceiling above a bathroom stall. What complicates everything is when two agents investigating the early morning shootout move the bag out of the bathroom requiring Vincent to dart through the club for his son’s life. Vincent finds himself conning this guy, promising things to another and killing others.He must find the bag of drugs to get his son out alive. This is going to be a very long night for Vincent.
The movie is very well done. The acting is convincing and the directing is razor sharp. My issue is with some of the editing choices. I know I said the film is well paced and at times, relentless. But there are a few instances, and mind you there are only a few, that completely stop the movie’s pace dead in its tracks. Each of these pauses are only a minute or two at length but most of them kill the intensity completely. This bothered me quite a bit. With the film’s runtime around only 100 minutes, these pauses even made the film seem longer than it really needed to be.
Another issue I have with this movie is its believability. I know it’s only a movie and sometimes we are required to just ‘go along with it’, but I find it really hard to believe that in a club with hundreds, possibly thousands of people that not one single person called the police. Multiple shootings, multiple brawls and no one feels the need to call for help. Utterly ridiculous.
All the negative things aside, I’d have to say Sleepless Night was above all, a fun experience. It’s unique in that it spends most of its time in one location and uses its time, for the most part, very well. It’s just hard to believe that our hero can run through this club for hours on end bumping into the same people in the same locations, sometimes covered in blood and no one does or says anything about it. I won’t be giving Sleepless Night a great rating and demand everyone see it, but it certainly isn’t a waste of your time if you choose to see it.