"Sleepless" is one of those movies that needed to be a lot better or a lot worse to make much of an impression. This story of a Las Vegas police officer trying to recover his kidnapped son from bad guys is frustratingly not-terrible. The action sequences, the characterizations, the performances, all could have come together to form a dandy example of what used to be a called a B-movie: a genre film that doesn't have much money to play with but compensates with ingenuity and style. And yet "Sleepless" somehow quite never gets to that level. Its rare moments of quality only make the rest of the movie—a mishmash of conspiratorial plotting and close-quarters fistfights and gunfights—seem lamer. As directed by Baran bo Odar (2010's "The Silence") and scripted by "World Trade Center" writer Andrea Berloff, this remake of the 2011 French film "Sleepless Night" is funny sometimes but not funny enough, exciting sometimes but never exciting enough, and inherently emotional (mainly due to the hero's anguished desire to save his son) yet never willing to run with the emotionalism and turn into a full-blown action melodrama.
Sticking closely to the French original, "Sleepless" starts in the middle of a car chase, with Las Vegas police detective Vincent Downs (Jamie Foxx) and his partner Sean Cass (T.I.) stealing a massive shipment of cocaine from drug dealers working for local crime boss Rob Novak (Scoot McNairy), who supplies a local hotel and casino owner named Stanley Rubino (Dermot Mulroney) with party favors for his high-rolling guests. The bad guys kidnap Vincent's son Thomas (Octavius J. Johnson) to get the drugs back.
Matt Zoller Seitz
Film critic and filmmaker.