Last year, “Attack the Block,” a British film about London hoodlums fighting aliens, perfected the formula of action, suspense, and several truckloads of camp to create something brilliant. “Sleepless Night,” directed by Frederic Jardin, might be attempting the same feat—though it’s never clear if the filmmakers are serious in their ineptitude—but comes across as a boring thriller that is funny only in it
‘s utter insipidity.
The film opens with a pair of men, Vincent (Tomer Sisley) and Manuel (Laurent Stocker), chasing down and murdering a pair of drug traffickers for their enormous bag of cocaine. Despite the canned music, it is a passable action sequence, and probably the film’s peak. The next scene reveals that Vincent and Manuel are actually cops moonlighting as porters for the local nightclub owner. Vincent even has a sweet little boy named Thomas to return home to, which is bad luck when his buyers get antsy and decide to kidnap Thomas and hold him as collateral. Thus begins the titular sleepless night, in which Vincent staggers back and forth across the club, hoping to stumble into the rescue of his son.
The film would be nothing more than a harmless TV time-filler if not for the blatant and disgusting misogyny that even the most exploitive Bond films avoid. A woman Vincent saves from being date-raped (taking out his manly frustrations on her date by beating him to a pulp in front of her) follows him around like a sick puppy, allowing him to kiss her whenever he spots people to avoid, and even has a pathetic make-out session with his cheek as he scans the club for his pursuers.
The real crime, however, lies in the lady cop (Lizzie Brocheré) who suspects Vincent of his illicit activity. There is an attempt at a fantastic device when she sees him hide the drugs in the ceiling of the men’s room, and promptly switches it to the same place on the ladies’ side. This is a missed opportunity not just in the epic cat-and-mouse game it might have created, but also in the attempt to craft a single meaningful character. When Vincent and the woman come face to face, he grabs her hair and shoves her into the kitchen freezer, slamming her around and crouching behind her as she moans in a disturbingly pornographic manner, not even attempting to fight back. After twisting her arm and leaving her locked inside, Vincent spends the next ten minutes in a pitched battle with her male colleague as she huddles crying in the freezer. There is literally no use for her character but as a punching bag for the surrounding males, who really deserve a solid beating themselves.
By the end of a meager 100 minutes, nearly half the time has been spent hoping for the main character to meet his demise, just so the movie might end. Whatever the director’s intention, this film failed at achieving it; if you want an adrenaline rush, your time is better spent reviewing the Bourne films on pay-per-view.