Toronto Review/Video Blog: Frédéric Jardin's Amazing 'Sleepless Night'
by Alex Billington
September 12, 2011
Holy crap the Midnight Madness line-up this year at the Toronto Film Festival is incredible (for the most part)! The other midnight film, besides The Raid, that I caught without knowing what I was about to even see and ended up loving is a French action-thriller called Sleepless Night (or Nuit Blanche in French). It's directed by a filmmaker named Frédéric Jardin and stars up-and-coming actor Tomer Sisley as a cop, but it's one of those surprising "that was AMAZING" discoveries that I cannot wait to tell everyone about. It's an intense, edge-of-your-seat film that mostly takes place inside/around one massive Parisian nightclub.
Sleepless Night pulls from Taken, with a story about a cop named Vincent (played by Sisley), whose son gets taken by a drug lord that runs a huge nightclub in Paris called Le Tarmac. It starts out with a car chase action scene on the streets of Paris, as Vincent and another cop are trying to steal drugs to make some extra money, but things go wrong and the mobster they stole from wants his drugs back, so he takes his son. So Vincent takes the bag of cocaine to the club, but is pursued by an internal investigator, other mobsters, and the drug lord who wants his stash. The plot keeps twisting as it moves on and the story progress in and out of the club, while Vincent tries to stay alive and save his son, whom he loves dearly. And that's just the start.
I have so much to say about this film, but if you're interested in hearing our reactions first-hand, Peter from SlashFilm and Jordan from The Film Stage and I recorded a video blog immediately after our screening because we loved it so much and wanted to express our thoughts right away. Watch our full video blog here:
Different from The Raid, Sleepless Night isn't exactly an all-out action film, it's a contained thriller that uses genius storytelling and screenwriting, as well intimate cinematography, to ramp up the intensity and keep the audience guessing. Vincent, the cop, is even smarter than the audience, setting up moments that tie in later, while the plot takes unexpected turns, meaning he has to keep thinking as well. It's one of those great films that will energize viewers, ramped up by the edge-of-your-seat excitement. And to make things even more riveting, Vincent is injured by a knife early on, and is running around with a deep wound that's getting worse every minute. It's such an awesome setup and execution, all around, I totally loved every minute of it.
Not only is Frédéric Jardin a name to watch for, but actor Tomer Sisley is the real stand out, delivering a performance that reminded me of how impressed I was with Tahar Rahim in Un Prophete, another French film that blew me away when I first saw it. I highly suggest seeking out Sleepless Night as soon as possible, even if you're not normally a fan of French films, it's that amazing. I already want to watch it again and I've been telling everyone at TIFF about it already. It's incredibly intense, exciting, extremely well-made, well shot, stars a cast of fantastic actors, and is an exciting French gem I didn't see coming, but have fallen in love with since. I couldn't be happier to have stumbled across it and will be mentioning it as much as I can.
Alex's Toronto Rating: 9 out of 10