Sleepless Night, or Nuit Blanche in the original French, is an incredibly stylized, edge-of-your-seat, action movie. And it does not let up for one second. From the opening robbery, where we discover that our protagonist Vincent is a dirty cop who robs the drug dealers he’s supposed to be catching, the audience is sucked into the story and can’t help but feel nervous for this character. When Vincent’s son is kidnapped and Vincent ordered by the gangster in charge to bring stolen drugs to his nightclub, we really start biting our nails. Vincent’s journey through the nightclub—avoiding gangsters, other dirty cops, and some good cops, is one long adrenaline ride that never gives you a break.
Director Frédéric Jardin has somehow captured the sweaty, thumping pulse of being in a nightclub, and transferred that same intensity into his movie. Its soundtrack goes back and forth between club beats and hypnotic, almost ambient, melodies that drive home the differences between Vincent and the environment that he currently inhabits.
Whether lost in the sea of dancing lunatics or stumbling through a drunken, beating induced haze, the film’s kick ass cinematography led me seamlessly through the entire film. In one particular moment, the camera sways through a restaurant kitchen, alternately focusing on the blood spattered floor and then glancing up at the ruined kitchen and the shocked staff. Stumbling through the mess, the audience is sucked that much deeper into Vincent’s journey, rescue, and redemption.
Tomer Sisley, who I have to admit I have never seen in anything before due to the sad lack of French cinema here in the States, expertly plays Vincent. Sisley takes a character that very easily could have become a throw-away-thug, yanked from the explosions and one-liners of every other action thriller, and turns him into a character that the audience not only cares about, but also respects. Sisley accomplishes it with seeming ease. His genuine concern for his kidnapped son drives some of the best fight scenes since the Bourne films left theaters years ago.
To sum up, if you have a chance to see Sleepless Night, and you like action movies that never let up, don’t hesitate to watch it. You would be depriving yourself of a tasty cinematic treat to ignore this movie.