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Review: Sleepless Night (Nuit Blanche)

I'd imagine that one of quickest ways to get on the bad side of gangsters and drug dealers would be to mess up their money. If you interrupt their cash flow, it's probably best if you have a perfectly good explanation. What's even better than that would be you paying off your debt in a respectable amount of time, getting out-of-town or calling the cops. But, what if you are a cop and you're knee-deep into the stuff yourself? In the film Sleepless Night, that's the predicament that the lead character faces.

Vincent (Tomer Gazit Sisley) gets involved with a group of drug dealers when he steals a boatload of their cocaine. These guys want what is owed to them and they'll do whatever is necessary to obtain it. To make sure they get their property, they decide to kidnap his son (Samy Seghir) and hold him as ransom until they get it. Vincent agrees and goes to a nightclub that is owned by one of the dealers to make the trade.

Things become more complicated when some of his colleagues get wind of his dealings and go to take him down. He eventually ends up surrounded by a group of people who don't have his best interest in mind. Now he has to find a way to avoid the cops and survive against angry gangsters, while trying to save the life of his son in the process.

One of the first things that come to mind when I think about Sleepless Night is speed. I'm not talking about the Keanu Reeves movie of that name, I'm talking about the pace that is set here right from the very beginning. It's quick immediately from the outset as it tosses the audience into the middle of a shootout. From there, it does slow down for a couple of scenes only to rise up again and get faster and better as the film progresses.

I like the premise of this movie, what it tries to accomplish and the style in which it's done. Having an action movie where it's in a nightclub or some other crowded place through nearly all of it sounds like a great idea if you can pull it off. In order for movies like this to work, not only do you need interesting characters, but they also have to be given a bunch of stuff to do. In this case, they needed to include the proper amount of mystery and suspense to make things interesting.

They tout this as an action movie, but there isn't a ton of action to speak of in the early going. Outside of one or two of the early scenes, they spend most of that time laying out the story while still not developing the characters in ways that one might expect. We're introduced to the characters and we also get a vague and superficial look at who they all are. We meet Vincent, some of his fellow officers, the gangsters and a few other people that are important to the movies plot, but we're left in the dark when it comes to who some people are and the roles that many of them will eventually play.

Although not at first, the audience does gradually learn more and more about everyone involved and everything that they're doing as the story unfolds. This is done to create a certain level of suspense, but it also makes you want to pay attention. This works wonderfully as the entire movie appears to shift once you start to learn about everything that you need to know and we learn about all of the relationships between the various characters. Almost all of it begins to open up at about the same time and it's done in a seamless, quick and precise manner.

I honestly wish that I could talk about Sleepless Night in more detail and break it down piece by piece. This truly is some fascinating stuff and it's done in a very intelligent fashion. Of course, there's is much of this stuff that I can't talk about, because I refuse to give out spoilers. It's something that you'll have to watch for yourself and I don't think anyone whose a fan of substance filled action movies will be disappointed.

With the speed, intelligence, twists and turns comes a potent action movie that has a range of entertainment coming from all corners. I have to give credit to all parties included with the making of Sleepless Night. It was a movie that I was going to skip over, but I decided to give it a try and I actually liked it. So far, we're only about half way through 2012 and I'd say that this is one of my favorite films of the year.

Score: 4/5

Rating: NR

Director: Frederic Jardin

Tomer Gazit Sisley
Serge Riaboukine
Dominque Bettenfeld
Samy Seghir
Joey Starr
Lizzie Brocheré
Julien Boisselier
Birol √únel
Adel Bencherif
Laurent Stocker

Film Length: 98 minutes

Release Date: May 11, 2012 (Limited)

Distributor: Tribeca Films

Country: France

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