Film Review: Sleepless Night (2011)
It will take you a while to get your head around exactly why Vincent (Tomer Sisley of Largo Winch fame) has trapped himself into this nightmare of a day, where one person has been killed, a large amount of drugs snatched and his son kidnapped with his life under threat. Yet it grows through the film to become its main strength as we try to figure out which side of the line everyone is walking here, emphasising that nothing is clear cut.
From the off it is all systems go with Vincent and Yilmaz masking up as they head into the city centre during early morning, blocking off another car and hijacking the two guys who give up a large bag of drugs. Nerves not long take over as Yilmaz shoots and kills one of the men before giving chase ignoring the pleas of Vincent to get the hell out of there. He loses track of the guy before he hops back into the car with Vincent and seemingly away scott free.
Yet Vincent is called out by the gangster he has stolen the drugs from – both Vincent and Yilmaz work for the police, so they are on the radar of the local criminals who simply lay out Vincent’s options. The premise should be simple; return the drugs with no harm done and get his kid back.
The main body of the film takes place in a nightclub owned by Marciano (Serge Riaboukine) who is holding Vincent’s son Thomas hostage, waiting for the return of his package to sell onto the soon to be arriving Feydek. The claustrophobic and at times intense nature of a club is vividly brought to life by director Frédéric Jardin, as over the course of the night Vincent manically crawls through every corner of the building scraping for both their lives.
To keep an entire action film focused in one place is never an easy thing to achieve as variety of location is often what can transcend a straight forward scrap into a mesmerising physical battle. Skilfully the action is moved across the entire building, which in fact is not a single location but a number of sets seamlessly gelled to effect.
Once we hit the nightclub the pace becomes relentless, whether it is two guys hammering each other senseless in the kitchen using every utensil they can grab, or evading capture in the crowds whilst Queen pumps through the speakers. The music becomes part of the drama so it isn’t just incidental noise in the background but part and parcel of the adrenalin pumping through Vincent’s head.
HIs son Thomas (Samy Seghir) does not have a large role but the young man holds a strong presence forming a believable bond with his father which is important for the films end. Sleepless Night is classic one man against the world stuff and you may well doubt the hero’s actions at times but never Sisley’s portrayal of a guy, literally at times, backed into a corner.
Director: Frédéric Jardin
Production co: uFilm, Chic Films, Paul Thiltges Distributions