Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Max von Sydow and Stefano Dionisi
SLEEPLESS aka Insomnio/Non ho sonno/2001). D: Dario Argento.

"I haven't slept for seventeen years."

A maniac called the dwarf killer goes on the rampage in Turin in 1983, then seventeen years later his reign of terror begins again -- even though he's supposed to be dead. Moretti (Max von Sydow), the original detective on the case, although retired, begins an informal investigation with Giacomo (Stefano Dionisi), the now-grown boy whose mother was one of the first victims. Turned off by the demands of one of her clients, a prostitute, Angela (Barbara Lerici), accidentally grabs a folder containing incriminating information regarding the "dwarf" murders, but the killer somehow catches up with her on the train she is fleeing on, and she is only the first of many victims; the deaths seem to be related to nursery rhymes. Like the best of Dario Argento's thrillers, Sleepless mixes together a lot of elements on its convoluted but suspenseful path to revealing the truth about what's going on, and there are many effective sequences, such as the aforementioned train murder. Sydow is excellent, Dionisi credible, and Roberto Zibetti scores as his friend, Lorenzo. Sleepless is almost as good as Trauma and has plenty of gruesome moments; one of his better latter-day movies.

Verdict: If you're an Argento fan, this is macabre fun -- others beware. ***1/2. 

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