SLEEPLESS NIGHT(NUIT BLANCHE) (director/writer: Frederic Jardin; screenwriter: Nicolas Saada/ Olivier Douyere; cinematographer: Tom Stern; editors: Marco Cavé/Christophe Pinel; music: Nicolas Errèra; cast: Tomer Sisley (Vincent), Serge Riaboukine (Jose Marciano), Joey Starr (Feydek), Julien Boisselier (Lacombe ), Laurent Stocker (Manuel), Birol Ünel(Yilmaz), Dominique Bettenfeld (Alex), Samy Seghir (Thomas), Lizzie Brocheré (Vignali), Adel Bencherif (Abdel), Catalina Denis (Julia); Runtime: 102; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Marco Cherqui/Lauranne Bourachot/David Grumbach/Jean-Jacques Neira/Hubert Toint/Paul Thiltges; Tribeca Film; 2011-France/Belgium/Luxembourg-in French with English subtitles)
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Frederic Jardin (“The Sister Brothers”) directs this exhausting and over-done slick action pic that plays like a blend of Hong Kong thriller and a Hollywood Die Hard-like thriller. It’s set almost entirely in an enormous labyrinth club and is about dirty cops, a botched drug heist and a kidnapping. The director co-writes with Nicolas Saadaand Olivier Douyere, keeping it fast paced and breathlessly entertaining. It’s a fun, gripping escapist action pic that will probably be forgotten about a half-hour after viewing. I found none of the characters likable, with the anti-hero viewed as both an unfit cop and dad placed in the position of trying to be a good dad.
During the daytime dirty detectives, Lieutenant Vincent (Tomer Sisley) and his partner Manu (Laurent Stocker), don ski masks and in a car chase over Paris streets rob two drug dealers of a bag containing10 kilos of cocaine. One of the dealers gets killed after stabbing Vincent in the guts, but the other escapes. He identifies Vincent to mafia boss Jose Marciano (Serge Riaboukine), who promptly snatches the divorced Vincent’s adolescent son Thomas (Samy Seghir) and threatens to execute him unless the cocaine is returned to him immediately at his Le Tarmac disco on the outskirts of Paris. At night, the still bleeding Vincent brings the drugs. But before meeting Jose, hides the bag in the false ceiling in the men’s restroom. Vincent is tailed by a gung-ho lady undercover cop (Dominique Bettenfeld), who takes the bag and moves it to the false ceiling of the ladies’ restroom. When Vincent fails to return the drugs to the mafia boss, he realizes he must use his wits to stall for time so he can rescue his son in time. Vincent knows his son is hidden somewhere in the packed disco, that’s rocking with hipsters, dirty cops and gangsters.
Using a hand-held shaky cam, for the rest of the film, we follow the relentless Vincent, playing the concerned dad, glide across the dance floor to the rousing techno music and do battle in the kitchen with the dogged Internal Affairs undercover lady cop and her crooked male boss Lacombe (Julien Boisselier). It’s then onto the pool room, with a few scraps for good measure with the game-playing patrons. Finally the crazed desperate cop makes it to the locked side room where his kid is kept hostage by the menacing Abdel (Adel Bencherif), and overcomes the thug to escape with the bewildered kid. Vincent must also fight off the ruthless Turkish mobster Feydek (Joey Starr) and his gun-toting underling Yilmaz (Birol Ünel), as the cocaine stolen was previously bought by the Turks from Jose. the Turks, like the mafia boss and the shady Lacombe, are willing to do anything to retrieve their property.
Too many set-pieces fell into the ridiculous cartoonish turf for it to be believable, but if the viewer’s aim is to be entertained by such a frenetic action pic and not be too concerned with much else then the pic will probably satisfy as an adrenaline high treat.
REVIEWED ON 1/15/2013 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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