Top positive review
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Never sleep again...
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.