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.


Re-Watching the Best of 2014: True Detective Season 1

LjGKxgQP I started this site in January of this year, and there are a handful of great neo-noirs that came out last year I didn’t get to cover.  I know everybody has already seen these and probably wrote their own review.  I still wanted to re-watch these films and television series again and put my own review out there on the world-wide web.  Here is the first of those reviews. True Detective is an original series from noir author Nic Pizzolatto.  I have read Pizzolatto’s novel Galveston before watching this series and found it a very good book.  Something fans of the show may want to read. This anthology series stars Matthew McConaughey as Rust and Woody Harrelson as Marty.  I would classify both as hardboiled,  Rust being the more so of the two. k14lysr4msp2q5887mjy This story starts out with our duo getting interviewed by two detectives played by Michael Potts and Tory Kittles.  Both are being interviewed individually about a case that happened 17 years ago.  In typical noir fashion we get our story with a series of flashbacks.  We quickly see our detectives are worse for wear 17 years after the story started and through 8 episodes we find out why. Our case from 17 years ago is a murder where the body has been staged in a ritualistic way.  This case has no suspects or witnesses and very few clues to go on.  The clues also leads to some missing children cases that may be related to the murder.  Our story takes us to dive bars, whore houses, meth labs, stripper bars, burned down churches and lots of Louisiana backwoods locations. We have a bunch of great characters in this, some are small parts and some are much bigger.  Our lead female, is Marty’s wife played by Michelle Monaghan.  Marty, and Rust for that matter, keep her away from the darkness of the case.  I would consider her Rust’s femme fatale.  We also get two more interesting femme fatales, though they are not part of the murders they do trip up Marty in his private life.  Alexandra Daddario appears in the first half and Lili Simmons in the second half. The show plays more like an 8 hour movie then a television show.  You will want to watch the next episode as soon as you finish one.  The story is intricate, intriguing, and addictive.  The music is dark and fits the southern Gothic feel, T Bone Burnett did a great job with the score. We will be getting a season 2 of True Detective this summer.  It has a high standard to live up to and I hope it can.  The new cast looks outstanding and the trailer looks great.  We go from our country noir setting to one of the most famous of noir locales in Los Angeles.  Can Pizzolatto keep the dark, intensity with the city landscape, a new story, and a new cast?  I look forward to seeing it and if it’s as good as the first season we are in for a treat.