A ‘Sleepless’ Foxx

Baran bo Odar fashions a familiar action vehicle for an Academy Award-winning star (Jamie Foxx) looking to stroll through a paycheck role.

click to enlarge T.I. (left) and Jamie Foxx - Photo: Erica Parise / Courtesy of Open Road Films
Photo: Erica Parise / Courtesy of Open Road Films
T.I. (left) and Jamie Foxx
I wish more audiences had been exposed to 2011’s Sleepless Night, Frédéric Jardin’s gritty French B-movie about a corrupt cop named Vincent (Tomer Sisley) attempting to rescue his son from the clutches of insidious and pervasive criminal elements, some even more institutionally entrenched than Vincent. It is not often that we get thrown into the midst of a chaotic world with no familiar crutches that we can latch onto for stability. 

Jardin injected the harried feel of a ticking clock — a countdown in the corner of the screen’s frame — without literalizing its presence. With each passing encounter, we realize that Vincent is losing precious time and options are being removed from him. You could argue that Sleepless Night approximates the sensation of being trapped in a video game premise far better than any of the multiplex CGI-laden movie adaptations that come to mind and then just as quickly fade away. As a character, Vincent definitely loses noticeable steam after each pummeling exchange.

So why would Hollywood deem it necessary to recruit Baran bo Odar, whose moody The Silence happens to be a suspenseful thriller, to helm a remake of an already successful genre exercise that audiences can already find if they want to? Why, to completely remake it into something wholly unrecognizable! 

Starting off by streamlining the title into Sleepless, Odar, working with a script from Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton), fashions a familiar action vehicle for an Academy Award-winning star (Jamie Foxx) looking to stroll through a paycheck role. In support, there are faces that are cast — David Harbour, Scoot McNairy, and T.I. — to remind us that this is supposed to be a walk on the wild side. But there’s never the threatening sense that anyone involved will miss a wink or a nod in this Sleepless knockoff. (Opens Friday at area theaters) (R) Grade: D

Also opening this week:

The Bye Bye Man // Live by Night // Monster Trucks // Patriots Day // Silence

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