Director: Baran bo Odar
Writer: Andrea Berloff
Producer: Roy Lee, Adam Stone
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, Dermot Mulroney, David Harbour, T.I., Gabrielle Union, Scoot McNairy
Running Time: 95 min.
Jamie Foxx plays Vincent Downs, a cop with a slightly dysfunctional domestic life and-at least on the surface-a seemingly jaded and laissez-faire attitude towards law enforcement and by-the-book procedures. Other than an eagerness to upstage his colleagues on the job, he generally takes a casual and indifferent attitude towards major crimes committed on his beat.
However, when both his home and work situations overlap in the worst possible way, Downs is forced to be more aggressive in nipping a potentially explosive situation in the bud. The situation being that a casino owner with connections to a major drug family has kidnapped Downs’ son, and threatened to kill him, if Downs doesn’t return the cache of drugs he intercepted during a deal gone south. And Downs has to do all this while being pursued a tough-as-nails female cop named Jennifer Bryant-played by Michelle Monaghan. Bryant’s own judgment at the force is being questioned, due to a disastrously failed bust of a meth operation.
So I’ll be honest and say upfront that the main reason I checked out Sleepless is because I liked how T.I. stole the show as the head of a gang in the raunchy lowbrow comedy Get Hard. But, unfortunately, he’s kind of underused as a shifty partner to Foxx’s character in this film. Still, he does show some decent emotional range during the more dramatic moments with Foxx. As for Foxx, he does a pretty brutal John McClane-esque performance as a cop trying to restore and maintain the balance to a world disrupted by goons with various agendas of their own.
The action scenes for Sleepless are not what I’d call stimulating, or fun. And the storyline isn’t the most creative out there, either. In fact, if you’re expecting some wise-cracking buddy movie, with some cool choreography and gunplay, then you’ll be disappointed. But where the film shines is the realism. The director and writers for Sleepless really thought of all the possible scenarios for how this set-up could go, for better or worse.
And they don’t try to flinch and sugar-coat the violence to make it look cool and easy to overcome. For example, when Downs and his son are overpowered by one of the pursuing thugs from the drug dealers, the two don’t pull off some clever getaway stunt, while wrapping up the situation mostly unscathed. They get their asses kicked-hard. Also, getting their hands on better ‘weapons’ to fight back doesn’t necessarily make things more convenient, either. Because there’s always some unanticipated variable which screws up their plans.
So I’m not going to pretend this is a movie you should be hyped to see and check out right away. But, if you want something a little more honest and credible about what it takes for a cop to really solve a crime, then Sleepless might be for you.
Ningen’s Rating: Story: 6/10 Action Fan Service: 5/10 Overall Execution: 8/10 Final Score: 6.5/10