Sleepless Night

Sleepless Night

2011, NR, 98 min. Directed by Frédéric Jardin. Starring Tomer Sisley, Samy Seghir, Serge Riaboukine, Julien Boisselier, Joey Starr, Laurent Stocker, Birol Ünel, Lizzie Brocheré.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., May 11, 2012

A sleepless night often begets much pacing of the floor, an exercise of trapped-space repetitiveness this French thriller cannily exploits for gasping tension. After a brief setup in which a cocaine heist ends with one of the targets dead, and the other one on the lam and dangerously able to identify his attackers, Sleepless Night confines itself to a cavernous nightclub from troubled dusk to bloodied dawn.

Vincent (Sisley), who purloined the coke but didn't pull the trigger, is summoned to the nightclub by its owner, a crime boss named Marciano (Riaboukine), who's not above kidnapping Vincent's teenaged son (Seghir) in order to get his stolen stash back. Return the coke, Marciano says, and the kid lives. Trouble is, the coke's been filched again. Out of this den of thieves – further crowded by a compromised internal-affairs agent and a Jamaican/Turkish drug lord – Vincent is a last best option for hero, and director/co-writer Frédéric Jardin and star Sisley admirably resist sentimentalizing the character. Sisley is a former stand-up comic, although you'd never guess it here: Finding himself in the eye of a colossal shit storm of his own making, his Vincent is brusque and action oriented, his face, a picture of ulceration in progress.

A 2011 Fantastic Fest alum, Sleepless Night is lean to the edge of emaciated with logic wobbles best not lingered on, but Jardin's control of tempo and tone is crackerjack. And in an era of supermuscled leads and gravity-defying action choreography, there's something pleasurably old-fashioned to the film's authentically knuckle-down fight staging. It's desperate, sweaty, heaving business bashing heads in, and I like an action hero that actually looks mussed.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Tomer Sisley Films
We're the Millers
This Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis comedy shows some sweetly crude family values.

Steve Davis, Aug. 2, 2013

More by Kimberley Jones
We Have an Issue: “The Light That’s Leaving”
We Have an Issue: “The Light That’s Leaving”
On Bill Callahan’s likably melancholy new record, and another month of painful closures of Austin fixtures

Sept. 18, 2020

MugShots Bar Announces Permanent Closure
MugShots Bar Announces Permanent Closure
Beloved dive bar was a Downtown mainstay since 2002

Sept. 13, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Sleepless Night, Frédéric Jardin, Tomer Sisley, Samy Seghir, Serge Riaboukine, Julien Boisselier, Joey Starr, Laurent Stocker, Birol Ünel, Lizzie Brocheré

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle