NZFF – Sleepless Night
For those who enjoyed the recent “24 hours in hell” story of The Raid, this French cop thriller is likely to be as enticing. The story bursts onto the screen in a haze of gunfire and car-chases, delivering our protaganist to a nightclub where he spends the rest of the film, in real time, trying to fix one problem after another.
Corruption is rife, the goodies look (and behave) like the baddies, and initially it’s pretty hard to keep up with who’s on which side of the law. What’s delicious about the narrative is its double-crossing of us, the audience, as we can’t tell where to put our allegiance and whether indeed we should be rooting for anyone. Ultimately it’s the strong, charismatic central performance of solo dad Vincent (Tomer Sisley) that grabs our hand and drags us through the labyrinthine back rooms of the club as he gets in and out of some pretty bruising scrapes.
The less spoiled, the better. Sleepless Night is edge-of-seat filmmaking, where any plot-holes are cemented up by faultless, impressively-choreographed fight scenes and any complaint we might utter about a character’s motivation is silenced by our admiration of the execution.