Review – Sleepless

Luke Stevenson is a journalist at Community Care and an avid cinema-watcher. He is also one of the three hosts of The Popcorn Muncher Podcast.

Poster for 2017 action thriller Sleepless, starring Jamie Foxx

Genre: Action
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 5th May 2017
Runtime: 95 minutes
Director: Baran bo Odar
Writer: Andrea Berloff
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, Scoot McNairy, Dermot Mulroney, Octavius J Johnson, Gabrielle Union, David Harbour, TI
Synopsis: A cop becomes embroiled in a big money drug deal involving a number of major underworld figures and is forced to challenge his loyalties when his son is kidnapped and his fellow cops descend on a casino.



Jamie Foxx toplines a single location actioner adapted from a 2011 French thriller in Sleepless. It’s a film whose greatest quality is that it struggles manfully to not be as instantly forgettable as it is. Its score is booming and oppressive, its cast give performances larger than required and its action is edited with more cuts than is generally tolerable in a 30-second sequence. Despite this effort, though, Sleepless never does much more than be a predictable snooze.

Foxx, who will need to choose better movies than this if he wants to take an action-hero career seriously, plays Vincent – a cop with ties to the criminal underworld. These connections come back to bite him when he becomes embroiled in a deal between Suited Gangster A (Dermot Mulroney) and Tattooed Gangster B (Scoot McNairy). His son (Octavius J Johnson) is kidnapped, giving him a very personal stake in the deal. Meanwhile, Vincent is also being investigated on allegations of corruption by Internal Affairs agents Bryant (Michelle Monaghan) and Dennison (David Harbour).

To give it its due, Sleepless establishes and breezes through this setup quickly, doing an adequate job of setting up its characters’ respective directions, even if all of their motivations are a little vague and crowbarred into the plot very late in the story.



The movie falls down though when it gets to the casino setting that dominates the second and third act. An opportunity to turn this setting into a stylish backdrop for a lean, quick action movie with good fight scenes is spectacularly missed. What follows is some increasingly frustrating plot contrivances that make the movie’s structure follow that of a farce more than an effective action thriller.

Maybe that’s not what Sleepless was going for. Maybe what’s at fault is my expectations of what Sleepless should and could have been. However, its conspiracy and thriller elements are predictable and dull, while its action is lifeless and doesn’t work in a world where The Raid and John Wick exist.

What we’re left with is a plot that is well-trodden, characters that are flat and a picture lacking any real style. Despite some very clear effort, Sleepless struggles to be anything more than lifeless.


Pop or Poop?

Rating: Poop!

Let down by its lack of imagination, Sleepless is a dull action thriller that is heavy with contrivances. Jamie Foxx turns in an admirable performance and the supporting cast do decent work, but are trapped in roles that have no depth. The single location is both an asset and a hindrance, forcing the action to unfold in blandly conventional fashion until the limp conclusion.


Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.

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