Released 16th February (Australia)
Seen 13th November
Directed by Baran bo Odar
Written by Andrea Berloff
Produced by FilmNation Entertainment, Open Road Films, Riverstone Pictures & Vertigo Entertainment
Starring Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, Scoot McNairy & Dermot Mulroney
In the 1990’s, the drug Ambien rose to prominence as a form of sleep aid. It was a branded version of the zolpidem class of drugs that would aid someone in going to sleep, even though it had adverse side effects such as causing people to sleepwalk and being a very addictive substance. I think I found a really good substitute for that drug that has no adverse side effects. I’ll take my Nobel prize in medicine now for discovering this brilliant alternative, thank you.
Sleepless is your generic “I’m a cop who has to do a thing for the bad guys” movie that stars Jamie Foxx in a film that I’m sure he only did because he really wanted to build an extension on his home. Picture the generic plotline for an “I’m a cop who has to do a thing for the bad guys” movie, put Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan and the sheriff from Stranger Things in there and congratulations, you have this movie. Now make it boring, you absolutely have this movie.
The visuals in this movie are barely adequate, there are no real glaring problems with how it looks. It sounds bad, I think the person who did the sound mixing screwed up to make the background noise louder than the dialogue in some parts. It doesn’t matter too much because fortunately all of the dialogue is badly written so maybe being unable to hear it is actually a positive thing. So yay, there are several moments where I can’t even hear the main character talk… Huzzah!
Trying to coast on an actors charisma is something that’s really hard to pull off. I contend that Hitman’s Bodyguard was trying that earlier in the year by coasting on it’s leading quartet of actors and in that film it worked. This film is trying so hard to use Jamie Foxx’s natural charisma in order to try and pull the film through to the end and Jamie has a shitton of charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent but NONE of those helps him in this movie because he’s been handed a character that is so generic that a literal blank screen would have more character. I’m unsure if they literally just change the backstory of his character halfway through because they realised they created an unlikable douche or if they just poorly constructed the character but either way, Jamie can’t save it.
The action scenes should be exciting, they really should be but I’ve seen them before. You remember the opening of Sister Act where Deloris is running through the kitchen underneath the casino? Yeah, they not only repeat that exact chase, I’m almost certain they use the same location and shot list. There’s also one of the final shots of Baby Driver in this film so that’s fun. So many fight sequences should be so much better but they’re not, they repeat every action to the point of absurdity and the fact that Jamie is still standing after his character got a large stab wound right at the start of the movie makes it even stupider.
Perhaps the worst part of all this is that there was potential here to actually be decent. The cast is actually good… usually, not in this film but normally they are really good. This idea might be old but it could still be done, it could still be interesting but it’s not and that’s largely because literally no one on this movie seems invested in making something interesting out of what they had.
Sleepless will put you to sleep, and that very obvious joke is still more original than anything you’re going to find in this movie.