Vincent (Tomer Sisley) and Vignali (Lizzie Brocheré) in Sleepless Night.
By Don Simpson
In the time span of a brutally intense 24 hours — including a sleepless night for everyone involved in the film — director Frédéric Jardin’s taut thriller, Sleepless Night begins with a drug heist gone horribly awry and snowballs into a relentless powerhouse of non-stop action from that point onward. In a tale in which there are very few good guys and countless shades of baddies, it is difficult to surmise where the protagonist, Vincent (Tomer Sisley), falls.
Vincent possesses a bag of cocaine that was stolen from two cronies employed by a local drug lord named Marciano (Serge Riaboukine). Marciano kidnaps Vincent’s son and offers Vincent a trade — the boy for the cocaine. Left with no other choice, Vincent makes his way to Marciano’s labyrinthine discothèque called Le Tarmac with no plan, only the overwhelming parental desire to save his son.
Vincent spends a majority of the film in a hopeless cat-and-mouse game with two drug lords, their minions, and at least two police officers. An assortment of nightclub staff and patrons are also engulfed into the tornado of fisticuffs — early on, Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” throbs from the sound system to serve as a precursor of what is to come. Dust will be bitten, you can be certain of that. Party people saturate every orifice of Le Tarmac as the block rockin’ beats blend seamlessly with the non-stop pummeling of flesh and shattering of bones. The intensity — and length — of some of the fight scenes is almost laughable, especially when we see the same characters moving around as if unscathed one scene later.