Review: Sleepless Night or Nuit blanche

Sleepless Night is a neo-noir from France, filmed in 2011. Frédéric Jardin directed and co-wrote the film. This film stars Tomer Sisley as a hard-boiled cop, who we cheer for the whole movie, but we are not sure if he is a good guy or just another bad guy that made his own bed and now he has to lie in it.

This is an interesting premise and well thought out. The film starts with a high-speed car chase and we are in the pursuing car. There are two men putting on full face ski masks and they finally stop the car. There is a fight and one of the masked men gets cut with a knife. The other masked man shots and kills one of the men in the first car and starts chasing the other one, but not before our masked man with the knife wound looses his mask and we see it is our hero played by Sisley. There are people on the street that witness the chaos and could I.D. our hero. Sisley chases down his partner, who has lost the man he was chasing. They did get the bag they were after though. We find the bag contains a lot of cocaine, more than they thought. We also find out our two masked criminals are police officers.

The gangster who sold the drugs has found out who our hero is and has kidnapped his son. Sisley must return the stolen drugs to get his young son back. His partner is against this, but Sisley goes anyway. He goes to the gangster’s night club to do the exchange when all hell breaks loose. The rest of the movie takes place in this gigantic, very popular night club as our hero juggles illegal immigrants working in the club, the gangster who was selling the drugs and owns the club, the drug dealer who purchased the drugs, some internal affairs police officers, some corrupt police and an array of thugs, bartenders, chefs and club goers while trying to save his son. This is a wild ride and very exciting.

An American remake is being filmed as I publish this review. Jamie Foxx will play our hero and it will also star Michelle Monaghan, Dermot Mulroney, and Gabrielle Union. I can see from the brief description of the American version that we will know Foxx is an undercover cop in the film. This film is very ambiguous about whether our hero is a dirty cop that got in over his head, or if he is an internal affairs officer working undercover. I’m still not sure what to believe and I’m sure everyone that sees it will have a different interpretation. This is what makes this wild ride such a good neo-noir and by telling the audience he is an undercover cop, I think will make the film less interesting. I of course will hold judgement until I see it.

This original film is well worth seeing for fans of French noir and neo-noir films. It is also very action packed and will appeal to action junkies too. See it before yet another great foreign film get an American re-make.

a

Review: Copycat

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This is the first time I’m seeing this film, even though it was released 20 years ago.  When I would go to the video store, I would pick it up and then put it down for something else.  I saw it playing on cable television, but something else was always on which I wanted to see more.  I finally watched it, after all these years.

This film is directed by Jon Amiel and written by David Madsen and Ann Biderman.  Biderman has gone on to write some great neo-noir and crime stuff for both movies and television.  This has a star-studded cast with Sigourney Weaver, Holly Hunter, Dermot Mulroney and Harry Connick Jr. being the big names in this film.

This film starts out with Weaver giving a lecture on serial killers, establishing her as our expert on the subject for this film.  She is attacked by Connick in the bathroom after her lecture and our opening credits role.  We then meet Mulroney and Hunter as homicide detectives doing some training.  They find a murder victim and feel they have a serial killer on their hands.  They soon recruit Weaver to help them.  She discovers our killer is emulating famous serial killers throughout history.  The investigation takes off from there.

This film feels average among a rush of neo-noir films coming out in the 1990’s, you can feel The Silence of The Lambs influences on this as well as having the bad luck to come out the same year as Se7en.  It seems to be rehashing these ground breaking films of the time but not bringing anything really new to the table.  Weaver said she was most proud of this film, but also said that the film was lost in the shuffle of all the thrillers coming out at this time.  It’s a good film, I think it maybe a bit to long at over 2 hours to tell this story.  I think they could have edited out a murder or two and cranked up the intensity for a more taut feeling film.  It is a must see for Weaver fans and Hunter fans won’t be disappointed.  If you love your serial killer thrillers from the 1990’s this should be on your “to watch list” if you have not seen it yet.