In “Sleepless,” Vincent (Jamie Foxx) is an apparently-crooked cop who must outwit brutal gangsters and his fellow officers to rescue his son after a robbery gone wrong.
It’s a promising premise, but one “Sleepless” never quite delivers on. The film isn’t bad. The score, though unsubtle, is not bombastic. The acting is good. The script is tight and the plot’s various twists make sense. Overall, it’s a fine example of competent filmmaking.
In the end, though, “Sleepless” does little to distinguish itself from the horde of crime thrillers that already exist.
The characters are so underdeveloped they barely qualify as archetypes. The audience is never really provided with enough information to gauge any of their motivations. They exist only to carry out the plot.
Scoot McNairy is the only one who manages to transcend his limited character as the cooly vicious Novak. The rest of the cast gives solid performances. They just have so little to work with.
“Sleepless” also suffers from some silly flaws. Major wounds, like a severely broken hand or a deep stab wound, only hurt when it won’t inconvenience the injured character too much.
Then there’s the mystery gas canisters Novak deploys toward the end of the film. Whatever is in the smoke they produce is noxious enough to prompt Novak and his henchman to don gas masks. But the worst effect this gas has is to cause one character to briefly cough.
These are minor gripes, and in a more exciting film they would probably pass without notice, but “Sleepless” isn’t that exciting. The rote and formulaic story fails to sustain any real tension because it becomes all too apparent how everything will work out.
“Sleepless” just isn’t the sort of movie that’s going to keep anyone awake.