Sleepless Night (or originally Nuit Blanche) starts as it means to go on – after the credits scroll down the top of a car we are straight in to a brief car chase, shoot out and drug heist before the first few minutes are up. This sets the tone for the rest of this lean and mean French action thriller.
The thieves are a pair of corrupt policemen, who despite getting away with a bag full of drugs have left a witness alive, this leads to one of the bent coppers having his son kidnapped and held to ransom for the powder by a local criminal kingpin who, like all good criminal kingpins has his HQ in a massive nightclub.
With more corrupt (and non-corrupt) coppers plus some rival gangsters in the mix it isn’t massively surprising when the planned exchange of drugs for son doesn’t quite go according to plan. This leaves our protagonist, Vincent, playing cat and mouse with several factions in and around the confines of the nightclub – first relying on his wits and then as everything becomes more desperate, his propensity for creative and bruising violence.
In addition to the pared to the bone plotting and excitingly-staged action, what Sleepless Night does brilliantly is evoke just what a panic inducing, surreal and nightmarish environment a garish nightclub can become. Perhaps stalking violent gangsters is a bit different from trying to find the toilet when you are about to throw up, but we’ve all experienced the horror of trying to get across a crowded dancefloor – and the addition in Sleepless Night of people line dancing to Another One Bites The Dust almost turns this into a horror film.
Tomer Sisley is sensational in the lead role, from a quick look at his wikipedia page I was surprised to discover that he was a stand-up comedian prior to turning his hand to acting. He brings a tough, weary quality to the film and a demonstrates a skill at smashing the shit out of people with kitchen equipment that I don’t think we’ll ever get from Michael McIntyre.
Attraction or Atrocity? An Attraction of the highest order – watch it at once.
Here is a trailer, try to ignore the reductive ‘Taken meets Die Hard’ voice-over and graphics…