Sleepless Night: The French Take on Taken?
Aug 2012 01

Most people want to be action film heroes. Sure, there might be some who might try to deny it, pretending to be too “mature”, or say they’re “pacifists” and other made up words. But ultimately, we all want a glock in our hand, and a cause in our heart.

However, what with our increasingly sedentary lives, allied to an abdomen-expanding diet, these days most regular people are further away than ever from being action heroes (or heroines). We all like to think that if it came to it, we’d have it in us to rise to the challenge. If only we had a suitable cause, an emotion-fuelled motivation, a vindictive and psychotic nemesis to spur us to action, we’d be unstoppable.

While we sit around watching soap operas, waiting for said motivation to come along, we watch action movies to sate our appetites for righteous violence. 2008’s Taken starring Liam Neeson (written and produced by Luc Besson), showed that a “particular set of skills” and a kidnapped daughter can do wonders for your get-up-and-go. And maybe Taken was just the start? Unknown followed in 2011, and Taken 2 is due to come out this year. All of these are French/European movies, with a less large-scale story premise than your average Nuke-obsessed 80s testosterone ‘n’ bullets-fest.

In this vein of effective French action movies comes Sleepless Night. Like the recent Indonesian action flick The Raid: Redemption, a man has to enter a hostile building, and work his way to the top through many (many) henchmen. Unlike The Raid, where the protagonist had a whole SWAT team with him, cop Tomer Sisley has to do this all on his lonesome. His partners have betrayed him, and a vengeful club-owning mobster has kidnapped his son. Cue much adrenaline-saturated fighting, and a liberal sprinkling of some pulse-pounding tension. One of the most effective things about the film is its sense of place, it gives the audience a good sense of where everything and everyone is, even in the midst of some frantic gun-and-fist-play. With some believable performances and some suitably gritty visuals, you’ll be in for a cinema seat-based treat.

‘Hey Dad, I know this isn’t really the time, but I really need to go to the bathroom!’

Sleepless Night won’t rock your world, change your life, or finally give you that action-star motivation, but if you like this sort of thing, and you’re feeling French, you’ll be in for a cracking and visceral action movie. Check out the trailer below, and leave a comment, if you’re hard enough.


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