New Release Review - Sleepless Night

Directed by: Frédéric Jardin
Starring: Tomer Sisley, Serge Riaboukine, Julien Boisselier, Joey Starr, Lizzie Brocheré

A crooked cop (Sisley) attempts to retrieve his kidnapped son who is being held in a vast Parisian nightclub by gangster Riaboukine.

I usually avoid this sort of film, they generally star Jason Statham or, if the budget is restrained, Jean Claude Van Damme or Steven Seagal.  Purely because this is French I figured it might be interesting and to a certain degree it is. A bad American thriller is sadly just a bad thriller but with it's French equivalent you at least get a sense that the director has some degree of passion for films.
Take this movie's best scene, a brilliantly realistic fight between two middle-aged cops in a nightclub kitchen. These aren't martial artists so it's a delightfully messy brawl, every kitchen implement, even press doors, utilised as makeshift weapons. Jardin is obviously a fellow John Carpenter fan, you can't tell me this isn't a homage to the great alley brawl between Roddy Piper and Keith David in "They Live".
The nightclub setting is a neat idea but it could have been used to greater effect. There's an opportunity here to indulge in some interesting sound editing which isn't taken. The only time we hear music is when the action moves to the club's dancefloor. Bizarrely every other location in the club is completely silent. Being a part-time DJ myself, something I've always been curious to see is a movie whose soundtrack isn't scored but rather mixed by a DJ. If ever there was an opportunity to explore this idea it's this movie. I really feel the film-makers have missed a trick here, not just creatively but it wouldn't hurt the movie's marketing if it had a soundtrack album by a top DJ.
Jardin is great as the uber-stressed cop who keeps digging himself deeper into trouble. You'd never get a lead actor with his non conventional looks in an American thriller, even in France it's quite daring to cast an Arab as your leading man. The casting overall is pretty good, lot's of the sort of great wrinkled faces you only seem to get in French movies. The one letdown is Brochere who just looks ridiculously young and pretty to be an undercover detective.
It was really no more than a time passer for this reviewer but if you're the sort of person who watches every Seagal straight to DVD flick, you'd be better served watching something like this.
6/10