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on 20 December 2007
When this movie was first announced, I immediately rejoiced. The excellent Dario Argento (he of the classics SUSPIRIA and PHENOMENA) returning to the giallo thriller? Acclaimed actor Max Von Sydow in a major role? How could this go wrong? Then, I quickly remembered Dario's latest few movies, and my heart sank. Luckily, for his fans - on this occasion, Dario isn't ready to disappoint as SLEEPLESS (NON HO SONNO) is a striking return to form with an added bonus: This movie doesn't resemble his earlier flicks in the fact that characterisation and plot take a back seat, this one is actually story driven and besides the gorgeous visuals that are on display, Argento delivers characters that you care about and a story that is actually involving.

The story is standard giallo fare. In Turin, 1983 - a serial killer nicknamed THE DWARF (I know, I know, don't switch off just yet) is terrorising young women. Detective Moretti (played by the excellent Max Von Sydow) apparently solves the case, promptly becomes a hero and then retires from policing altogether. Fast forward 17 years later, and the killings start up again. He is drawn back into the case with the aid of a young man Giacomo (Sefano Dionisi), who's mother was killed by the Dwarf. Together, they unravel the mystery that has lasted for over 17 years.

The movie is fantastic, ranking up as one of Argento's best. The opening sequence aboard a speeding train, where the killer plays cat and mouse with a young woman is superb. A tight and never-ending scene, where you truly don't know when the killer will pop up and go BOO. Infact, the movie is littered with these great scenes of true horror, and whilst watching you begin to wonder why no one in the US can conjur up horror movies like this (I think I might throw up if some bright spark at a movie studio decides to greenlight another remake or teen horror clone). The cinematography is very stylish (Argento reteams with OPERA stalwart Ronnie Taylor), with the correct use of light and day sequences to truly give the feeling that no one is safe in this movie, whether it be in daylight or darkness. Also, kudos to the cast. Von Sydow is great, and slips into his role like a glove. His scenes are always moving and you are drawn to him whenever he appears on screen. The supporting cast members are also very good, which is strange for an Argento movie, as usually the dubbing or acting grates on me whenever I see his movies. Infact, I can't say anything negative about this movie . . . oh, except one thing. Yet again, Argento likes ALL of his victims to be beautiful young women. This still seems strange to me, as in most of his movies - its the fairer sex who are butchered and hardly any men. (This movie is no exception, and the death sequences are truly horrible. Witness the death of Giacomo's mother in flashback - yeah, obviously a fake head effect - but, the implications of the scene are quite disturbing. The deaths throughout the picture depict women being beaten to a pulp, cut open and generally treated like meat. So, if you are a casual viewer, approach this movie with caution - I, even as a big Argento fan found this movie to be a little TOO MUCH in the way of female killing. Maybe next time Dario, skewer a few guys, huh? Just to even it out?)

Now, lets get onto the actual DVD. On disc 1, not only do you get a beautiful widescreen transfer of the movie, but also a 'making of', a european theatrical trailer and bios. Not bad, I would be quite happy with that. But, that's not all - on disc 2 you also get the cool Dario Argento documentary with insights not only about him, but snippets from Romero, Carpenter, etc. A great addition for any Argento fan. So, all-in-all, a great return to form with a great disc. Forget those dull gore porn or teen horror movies that have littered our movie theatres and video stores for the past few years - go for real horror directed by one of the best guys around. Recommended.
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on 2 December 2015
Excellent very pleased with it..
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on 19 August 2009
This is one of Dario Argento's best Giallo films. It is a shame it never got a proper release in the USA, but this Arrow release from the UK is worth every penny. The USA release is full screen pan and scan, and approx. 1 min is cut from the film for violence. This region 2 version is fully uncut and is presented in widescreen format. It also comes with a special feature that only this version of the film has; Murder, Madness and Mutilation: Sleepless and the Modern Italian Giallo. If you are a fan of Dario Argento, you should definately check out this movie.
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on 1 October 2017
One-off my favourite argento films, as everything you'd expect from an argento film, loved it.
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VINE VOICEon 17 April 2002

(Italy - 2000)

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Theatrical soundtrack: Dolby Digital

Representing writer-director Dario Argento's best work since OPERA in 1987, SLEEPLESS is a giallo masterpiece, a hi-tech nightmare which returns the director to his beloved thriller genre (following unhappy detours into the worlds of Poe, Leroux, and others) and predictably reworks all the major themes that have fuelled his output since THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE (1969). Set in Turin, SLEEPLESS is the twisted tale of an ex-detective (Max von Sydow) who's called out of retirement to investigate a series of murders patterned after a similar spate of killings that ended in 1983 when the primary suspect - a dwarf who wrote crime novels - apparently committed suicide. Now, someone is using one of the 'Dwarf Killer's' most unusual compositions (a poem describing the slaughter of farm animals) to perpetrate an all-new series of brutal atrocities. Joining forces with von Sydow to solve the mystery is Stefano Dionisi (FARINELLI IL CASTRATO), whose mother was an early victim of the killer's rampage, and their investigation leads to further bloodshed and a bravura climax which ties all the loose ends together in a suitably Grand Guignol manner.

Scripted with exquisite grace (by Argento, Franco Ferrini and Carlo Lucarelli), and filmed entirely on location, the movie proclaims its sober intentions from the very start, opening with a genuinely terrifying set-piece on a moving train in which the killer stalks a prostitute (Barbara Lerici) who's accidentally taken incriminating evidence from his/her apartment. Had the rest of the film not been so strong, this intense opener could have derailed the entire narrative, but Argento has plenty of other surprises up his sleeve, most notably an infamous carpet-level tracking shot along a busy corridor which (ahem!) doesn't conclude happily...

Working once again with world-class cinematographer Ronnie Taylor (Richard Attenborough's favourite DP), Argento has fashioned a stunning combination of narrative momentum and cinematic technique, and some of the film's most harrowing episodes culminate in shocking outbursts of explicit violence (the fate of Dionisi's mother is particularly horrific, and another murder inspired by a similar sequence in DEEP RED [1975] reportedly caused walk-outs during a screening in Cannes, so be warned!). Elsewhere, Argento's triumphant return to the giallo format is further underlined by a terrific music score composed by former synth-rock group Goblin (easily their best work since the early 1980's), who reformed especially for this production before quickly disbanding again! Other notable contributions: Anna Napoli's keenly-judged editing skills, and Sergio Stivaletti's gruesome makeup effects, including an ultra-convincing exploding head!

Though the script and direction are entirely successful, the cast is a typically hit-and-miss assortment of familiar faces and unknown quantities. As a result, some of the supporting players aren't terribly strong, especially in this dubbed version (the multi-lingual cast performed their roles entirely in English, but the soundtrack was later re-dubbed during post-production). Dionisi's character is severely underwritten, giving him little to do, but Chiara Caselli (MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO) demonstrates real potential in an otherwise thankless role as Dionisi's childhood sweetheart, an association which exposes them both to the killer's merciless rampage. Predictably, von Sydow is magnificent, investing his role with the kind of warmth and humanity that might have eluded a lesser actor, while longtime Argento stalwart Gabriele Lavia (DEEP RED, INFERNO, etc.) makes a welcome appearance as the father of Dionisi's best friend (Roberto Zibetti). Some of the film's more wayward conceits - such as the 'dwarf' assassin, and the killer's almost childlike reaction to his/her unmasking - may provoke laughter amongst the uninitiated, but the watertight script provides valid explanations for every element of Argento's vivid tapestry. Eminently repeatable, SLEEPLESS isn't merely one of the director's most accomplished films for ages, it's also one of the best horror movies of the last twenty years. Enjoy!
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on 18 August 2009
This is certainly Argento on form with lots of murder, suspense, blood, reds and blues plus music by Goblin (which fits in perfectly unlike Keith Emmerson's "Inferno" soundtrack). As the case review says it incorporates many familiar things from his earlier films such as lots of knives, blood and pretty young women (usually being murdered).

Set in Turin in 1983, the film features the great Max Von Sydow as retired cop Moretti who helps look for a killer who appears to have returned to his trade after a lengthy 17 year lay-off. Was he in prison or killing in other places without the murders being linked? I won't spoil it by saying any more.

Track down the 2 disc SE with the same cover and what appears to be the same extras (making of, an hour long Argento feature "An Eye for Horror", stills galleries, Argento bio and filmography). Though they seem spread a bit thinly over 2 discs and could fit onto a single (as in on this disc) it's cheaper and with 2 discs perceived as well as real better value.

The film is real edge-of-seat material unlike the earlier Argento murder mystery "The Bird with the Crystal Plumage". The only minor irritation in or criticism of it are the constant reverse cuts in the train scene (one minute the train is travelling left to right, the next minute right to left, as if it's changed direction). Reverse cuts totally interrupt the flow, are off-putting to the viewer and really shouldn't be there. There are no complaints about the picture or sound quality.
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on 12 June 2011
1970s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, was Dario Argento's directorial debut. It was a great film and really put Argento on the map, everything he directed up to and including 1987s Opera is excellent in my opinion. His next four films were all pretty decent, Two Evil Eyes up to Phantom of the Opera. Sleepless was released in 2001, and marked a return to "Giallo" for Argento.

The opening twenty minutes of Sleepless is tense and unrelenting, possibly one of Argento's greatest sequences. The film doesn't really live up to the promise of the opening twenty minutes, but it's an excellent, gory, serial killer film.

In 1983, a young boy's mother is killed by "The Dwarf Killer", detective Moretti (Max Von Sydow) promises the boy that he'll find the killer. Fast forward seventeen years and the killings have started again, police contact the now retired Moretti for help. Moretti bumps into the boy who is now in his early twenties, and the two team up to try and track the killer down.

Max Von Sydow is very good as Moretti, a lot of the actors are Italian and dubbed, so it's nice to have an English speaking actor in it. Argento has used an English speaking actor as the lead throughout his career, Jessica Harper in Suspiria and Jennifer Connelly in Phenomena as examples. Despite being dubbed, a lot of the foreign actors give good performances.

Argento has always filmed his murder scenes from the killers point of view, and it's no different here. Some of the deaths are very brutal and gory, certainly not for the squeamish. The music is great, I believe the band Goblin reformed specifically to do the Sleepless soundtrack. Sleepless was filmed in Italy on a budget of $4,000,000, it's got a run time of nearly two hours.

I really enjoyed Sleepless and class it as being almost as good as his work between 1970-87, it's so much better than the absolutely awful The Card Player that followed. For any fan of Argento, Sleepless is a must own.
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After a few serious disappointments to Argento fans following his "Phantom of the Opera" and to some extent "The Stendahl Syndrome", the Italian master of giallo is back in top form. Not only could "Sleepless" (aka. "Nohosonno") be ranked as one of Argento's best films in recent years, but it also stands out as a blinding contrast to the many post teen-slasher films that are currently available. Argento has never been shy of confronting the viewer with terrifying images of death and the sheer brutality of a murder – and "Sleepless" is no exception.
The film is one of Argento’s most macabre films to date – rivalled only by "Opera" (aka. "Terror of the Opera") and "Phenomena" (aka. "Creepers"). But in contrast to these two films, "Sleepless" has a more consistent and logical plot.
As usual one should not expect too much on the acting side. Argento has a phenomenal ability to make even great actors (e.g. David Hemmings in "Deep Red" or Julian Sands in "Phantom of the Opera") come across as rigid, expressionless and a bit strange. Max Sydow’s character – the aging detective Moretti in "Sleepless" is no exception from this rule. But at the same time it must be noted, that this particular character shows a bit more depth then the rest of the cast, and also seems to indicate that the director has adapted a more pensive style.
Then again, the acting is not why most fans enjoy Argento’s work. The basics are still there - the sleek camera movements, the macro shots of the knifes edge, the obligatory black gloves and the sheer innovation of terrifying imagery is as enjoyable and sadistic as in his very best films. A must see for fans – and a worthy alternative to many of the anaemic horrors from Hollywood.
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VINE VOICEon 22 September 2004
A qualified return to form for Dario Argento, Sleepless starts like it's going to be one to add to the classics of Suspiria, Deep Red and co. with a barnstorming first 20 minutes. Argento piles on the pressure as a prostitute narrowly escapes an assignation with a serial killer, accidentally stumbling on evidence of his crimes, only to find herself trapped with the killer on a virtually deserted late night train. The film isn't capable of sustaining the energy of the brilliant opening, but it settles down into the familiar pattern of an Argento thriller - a black gloved serial killer dispatching his victims in grilsy ways, and a detective struggling to remember a nursery ryhme that may hold the clue to the killer. Critics may complain that Argento is just repeating the same material he's done before, but after the misfire of Trauma Argento has regained his style, aided by the return of musical collaborators Goblin (Deep Red, Dawn of the Dead, etc). It doesn't quite match Argento's classic earlier work, as the plotting is a little too contrived, with logic being sacrificed in the name of suspense, but with a dizzyingly twisty plot and some fine gore set-pieces this is something of a return to form for the great horror director.
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on 30 January 2012
Though Sleepless is not one of Argento's best offerings it is still a very solid horror/thriller.

Filled with some disgusting but for me great gore scenes and at times directed by a man who more than knows his craft, Sleepless moves with real pace and zip.

The first twenty minutes are pure heaven and after that the movie still holds up quite well.
The biggest problem here is that the movie probably defeats itself with the many twists that it takes.
Perhaps if Argento had made this a straight serial killer movie then Sleepless may have been a classic of the genre instead of only being a good passable film. However what do I know telling one of the greats how his film should pan out. Sleepless has moments of utter brillance and is well worth a purchase but not one of his best. By the way if you are squeamish you may want to look away at this uncut version of the film. You have been warned.
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