Wednesday, March 9, 2016

MTV's Dario: Sleepless (2001)

This is almost like Dario Argento's Greatest Hits.  Oddly enough, this did not make for a memorable Film to most.  Today's Film is Sleepless, a 2001 Film made by the Italian Hitchcock.  Let's address the obvious thing here first: this is from Dario Argento's 'dark period.'  Basically, there is a consensus among many Critics that Dario Argento peaked in the early 80s.  Which Film you- as such a Critic- thinks is his last good Film is up for debate, be it Tenebre or Phenomena.  Personally, I still like Dario Argento Films made more recently, including Dracula 3-D, Do You Like Hitchcock? and Trauma.  Hell, I don't hate Giallo- that's saying alot!  With that in mind, how does this one hold up?  The Film tells the tale of a killer who disappears for nearly 20 years, only to reappear and kill again.  Can the original Detective- who failed to catch him- get redemption this time around?  Will a young man finally get justice for his family?  Anyone who knows Argento's Films knows that he likes to have unlikely Protagonists solve the cases, be they innocent Travelers, blind Journalists, Jazz Pianists or his Daughter (quite a few times!).  In this case, he takes a partial play from The Cat O'Nine Tails with Max Von Sydow's Retired Detective (although he's not blind here).  The big question- is this good?  To find out, read on...
In 1983 (good year!), a mysterious killer of a family eludes justice.  Sorry, Mr. Von Sydow.
Now in 2001, a Prostitute leaves a 'John' (sorry, John) that creeps her out, only to accidentally knock over a box and reveal all sorts of evidence that he might be said killer.
This- and some recent killings- gets the Police back on the Cold Case and re-approaching the Detective, who is now retired.
The killer continues to kill with renewed vigor and manages to mix up his methods.  At least he isn't a one-trick pony, you know.
The Detective is joined in his investigation by the now-grown-up child from the 1983 killings.
Can a man with a failing memory and a man with no experience stop a killer?  All signs point to 'no' so far...
They eventually run afoul of the killer- the father of one of their friends.  So it is Deep Red then?
However, things aren't quite what they seem.  It turns out that the young man is actually the killer.  So it is Four Flies on Gray Velvet then?  Or is it Phenomena?

Regardless, they die.  The End.
 A good Film, but not the man's best.  Sleepless is by no means a bad Film.  You see alot of Dario's old tricks on display here- long tracking shots, animal imagery, violence- and they are always welcome.  There isn't any of the 'gloved killer' shots that define early Argento Films, so it isn't all 'old hat' with him.  The Acting is good overall, although the only option I had for the language was English Dubbing.  Max Von Sydow sounded the same, but...well, that's obvious.  As I say every time, it is hard to fairly judge the Acting when I'm only hearing an alternate version of the Audio.  The only negative here: familiarity.  Sleepless has the feel at times of an earlier Argento Film- several, in fact.  If you're an aficionado of his work (like I am), you have to judge it on this merit.  If you don't know his work, this won't be an issue.  It is a pretty relative complaint, so that's not a bad one to have.  Here's another one that is even more minor: the Film has a Character ask 'Isn't there another Story called ''Animal Farm'' in relation to a Poem featured in the Story also called that.  Really now?!?  Let me wrap this up with a creepy fact: the bizarre Poem about murder featured in the Film (below) was written by Asia Argento!
Next up, I really dig into a Foreign Film with a Cardona attached to it.  If you don't know the name, consider yourself lucky.  Stay tuned...

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