‘Sleepless’ puts audiences to sleep

Andrew Shermoen

“Sleepless” is an unfaithful and poorly conceived remake of the 2011 French thriller of the same name. It’s messy, poorly acted, and an absolute snooze fest. Every second of its contrived plot makes one wonder why a studio payed money for this film to be made.

Dirty cop, Vincent Downs (Jamie Foxx), makes a move to steal a large amount of cocaine from Las Vegas crime boss Rob Novak (Scoot McNairy). In retaliation, Novak captures Downs’ son, Thomas (Octavius J. Johnson). Downs and Thomas are trapped in a casino trying to escape Novak’s thugs, dirty cops, and an internal affairs agent (Michelle Monaghan), convinced that Downs is the dirtiest cop on the force.

“Sleepless” features a star-studded cast that is tragically misused due to a horrible script and direction that reduces their performances to growling, constantly screaming caricatures of everything wrong with modern day action “heroes.” Jamie Foxx once again stars in a role that features him as a grizzled character with absolute no interesting motivations or character arcs. He’s as thinly written as anyone else in the film and there is nothing about him that makes him interesting. T.I. plays his partner on the police force and half the time horrible sound design and direction prevented me from understanding anything he was saying. It’s like they took one take, T.I. spit his lines out as incoherently as he wished and they all went home. Monaghan tries her best to insert some female perspective into a film filled with a suffocating amount of male bravado, but instead, she comes off as constantly confused and her role as an internal affairs detective presents her as the worst cop in the history of Las Vegas.

Speaking of Las Vegas, one would assume that the vibrant and colorful setting off Las Vegas may shine an exciting neon light on the dull and dismal story of “Sleepless.” Alas, the Las Vegas strip is reduced to a locale that makes it as replaceable as any other vague city decaying underneath the weight of other average cop films. Nothing about the film would make you think it was taking place in Las Vegas despite constant assurance from the film’s characters.

The worst cinema crime committed by “Sleepless” is how unfaithful and unkind an adaptation it is, completely snubbing its source material. “Sleepless Night” is a 2011 film that is often referred to as an incredibly great action-crime thriller, often cited as one of the best of recent memory. Its story features the nuanced and interesting characters that this American remake has none of. “Sleepless” is a dull, uninspired cliché with terrible performances and totally predictable story beats. It inspires to be nothing more than a poorly shot, badly executed popcorn thriller with laughably choreographed fight sequences. The best part of “Sleepless” is that “Run the Jewels” from the rap duo of the same name plays during the end credits. Let’s hope that the sequel it sets up in its final two minutes never comes to fruition.

Rating: 0.5/5