An opening cocaine heist turned bloody has authorities thinking “gangland killing,” but the man who’s really to blame is one of those investigating authorities: Vincent (Tomer Sisley, The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch), a Bad Lieutenant dealing with Far Worse Criminals. In retribution for having his bag of kilos swiped, nefarious club owner Marciano (Serge Riaboukine, Luc Besson’s Angel-A) kidnaps Vincent’s insolent teenage son.
Virtually the remainder of Sleepless Night takes place within Marciano’s labyrinthian, multilevel nightclub and restaurant on a lively evening as Vincent plots to get his son back while dodging fellow cops (primarily Lizzie Brocheré) who have a sneaking suspicion he’s up to no good.
A breathless, propulsive nerve-jangler in the relentless style of 2010’s Point Blank, also from France, the film keeps its characters running like hamsters on a wire wheel. Inherent tension is made even tighter with a wounded Vincent clinching his side in pain like Richard Gere throughout Arbitrage.
So what if a midpoint kitchen fight results in too many broken things? Viewers can’t complain about lags with this one. There’s a twist here, a twist there, and Jardin screws with his audience as much as he is with Vincent, and Vincent with everyone else. Get screwed. —Rod Lott