Willem Dafoe gives a knockout performance as a sensitive coke dealer and Susan Sarandan is as badass as ever here. Their chemistry is so great in this film it just comes off as natural. Schrader weaves another dark urban morality tale that is reminiscent of his best works. The only place this film falls short is its godawful music, the lyrics of the songs feel like an after school special meets Springsteen.
A masterpiece, I discovered this first after finding out a teenage Harmony Korine worked as a PA on set, I can't believe he got to be a PA for this deeply felt film that makes the condition of insomnia look poetic and then as awful as you'd imagine it to be. And even more so.
Cocaine and New Age psychics. The search for meaning in the midst of cultural decay. A religious allegory that could be Dafoe’s audition for the role of Scorsese’s Christ. An artifact of the time of disillusionment that followed the Vietnam War and Watergate, and preceded the rise of an ethos based upon self indulgence and status In Trump’s America. I’m not convinced that the hero makes any real progress.
Excellent performances by Sarandon and DeFoe, and well-maintained tone. Great to see NYC back when the walls of garbage wafted putrid odors on warm nights. Terrible music choices and terribly low-budget shootout. Otherwise, a more interesting script than "First Reformed," though again a problematic ending with Mother Mary providing redemption. Victor Garber and David Spade look so young.
While supported by a strong cast with great performances from Dafoe and Sarandon alongside director of photography Ed Lachman, Light Sleeper burns too slowly to effectively handle its themes. There is also the huge amount of melodrama that is bolstered by incredibly distracting and overbearing musical cues. Both the music and camerawork really trap the film in its time and doesn't allow it to age well at all.
Oh yeah. Slow jazz sax, baby. This movie is a great example of Schrader using tone to create the story. It is lighting, it is music, it is dialogue... all combining to flush out this '90s esthetic and embody the action of this film. Schrader just proves to be a master of style here. Great stuff. Not a perfect film... it could stand to be more gritty at times... but a satisfying one.
This is the Schrader film, of the ones I've seen, that most exemplifies his long struggle to make artistic films within the film industry-- it's a 103-minute battle between form and content (form wins), full of improbability, operatic excess, unerring awareness of good/evil (and the NYC of the 80s), and treasurable moments no other auteur could provide. Dafoe's precise performance defines Dafoe's singular gift...
Trash, trash everywhere: sidewalks filled with rubbish, sanitation is on leave and "Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets". In a sense, Light Sleeper is overtly and proudly trashy as well: the redemption story is unconvincing, the soundtrack is truly atrocious, almost comical, the ending is beyond campy, the characters are walking cliches... And yet, it's a must see.
Tout ici est vraiment consternant de fadeur et de nullité : un scénario quelque peu bancal, des dialogues hilarants à force de ridicule, une interprétation cabotine et une mise en scène lourdement emphatique, commise par un réalisateur introuvable... www.cinefiches.com