Perfect Sleep, The (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus thinks the title for this movie is perfect, if it's what your actually after....
The Narrator (Anton Pardoe) returns to the city he swore he would never return to in order to save the girl (Roselyn Sanchez) he's always loved, even though seemingly everyone wants to kill him.
I've never been a big fan of film noir, though admittedly I don't think I've ever really felt that I've been watching the genuine article, just movies mimicking the same old clichés from a bygone era. The Perfect Sleep is one of those imitations ramped up to eleven with dismal results.
The movie opens with twenty minute voice over from the pretty monotone narrator, telling us all the stuff that's happened before the movie can actually begin. It's heavy on clichés: warring brothers, love triangles, childhood loves, and all told with the same old fake mysterious storytelling that mimicked noir thrives on, stopping short of referring to all ladies as dames.
Once you get past the opening twenty minute introduction it doesn't get a whole lot better, with ridiculously drawn out dialogue scenes (mostly with painfully slow voiceovers), little in the way of action (and when it does arrive, that too feels drawn out) and characters so thinly presented it's hard to find a reason to carry on caring.
Honestly, I can't remember the last time I was so bored in a movie (and I saw ' 12' this year). The lead actor who is also the mysterious and boring narrator, has zero charisma and is often utterly unreadable, so having him leading us through the frankly lifeless and disjointed plot was just too much of struggle. It also didn't help that he was on a quest to have the perfect sleep (like when you fall asleep on a sofa or on a train), which constantly kept reminding me what I'd rather be doing.
Generally speaking, the movie style is one with deep black shadows and little to no colour giving it a sort of black and white feel. Fans of the style might lap it up but honestly I thought it looked pretty cheap.
The transfer does a pretty good job at showing the film off, though it does look a tad on the digital side with a slight softness to the overall effect and a sense that the colour manipulation could have been dialled down a little from time to time.
That said, some of the details look very good, especially on the wrinklier bad guys faces and generally skin tones and textures look about right in the more naturally coloured scenes. There's also a lot of warmer scenes that glow nicely, usually involving the Sandra Bullock-esq Roselyn Sanchez in a silk gown of one kind another.
Well it certainly sounds film-noir. Mood setting cymbals, the odd bit of trumpet, city sounds and gun shots are all present, but really it's nothing to get excited about.
Much like the movie, there's nothing thrilling about the Dolby Digital track. Dialogue remains in the centre and feels trapped there and the ambience either by the odd sound effect or the minimalistic score sits behind you to create a mysterious mood. It's not all that special and only just about works.
Thankfully there was only a trailer for the movie (01:25).
Judging by the general response to the movie online I'm not alone in my feelings for the rambling mess that is The Perfect Sleep, but if your a film-noir fan and still think you're up for it, here's a tip. Check out the trailer on youtube, then simply remove any sense of pace or excitement from what they're showing you, and then see if you still fancy it.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 26th July 2010
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 2.0 English
Easter Egg: No
Director: Jeremy Alter
Cast: Anton Pardoe, Roselyn Sanchez, Patrick Bauchau
Genre: Crime, Drama and Film-Noir
Length: 101 minutes
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