Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 14th, 2007
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 2001
Director: Dario Argento
Writers: Dario Argento, Franco Ferrini, Carlo Lucarelli
Cast: Max von Sydow, Stefano Dionisi, Chiara Caselli, Roberto Zibetti, Gabriele Lavia, Paolo Maria Scalondro
DVD released: 2002
Approximate running time: 112 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: English Dolby Digital 5.1 English
DVD Release: MIA Films
Region Coding: Region o PAL (UK)
Retail Price: $26.95
Synopsis: Retired detective Moretti (Max von Sydow) begins his known investigation into a copycat killer to the infamous dwarves killing which he solved seventeen years before. Giacomo (Stefano Dionisi) who was just a young boy when his mother was murder by during the original dwarf killings joins forces with Moretti. Can they uncover the identity of the dwarf killer before he comes to the end of the nursery rhyme and disappears once again?
After the failure of 1998’s The Phantom of the Opera many Dario Argento thought that the maestro had lost it and that a return to his more violent and technically dazzling era (which comprises of the films from Deep Red to Opera) a long gone but not forgotten memory. For the first time since Opera Argento would finally return to the giallo genre with his 2001 film Nonhosonno known outside of Italy as Sleepless. Another connection from Argento’s past Goblin who supplied him with some of his most memorable scores after nearly twenty years apart they would reunite for yet another symphonic masterpiece. The films main theme is one of Goblin’s most effective and memorable pieces with its driving guitar and progressive rock arrangement.
Plot wise Sleepless is not anything special or groundbreaking as most of what happens is primary just there to further the films many grizzly murders. This is not to say that there is not anything of value in the plot. In fact the killers’ identity is without a doubt one of Argento’s more inventive and cleaver deceptions of his career. Character wise the films main two leads Max von Sydow as Ulisse Moretti and Stefano Dionisi as Giacomo are something of an odd pair even by Argento standards. Sleepless is one of the rare exceptions where Argento doesn’t have a strong female character and the two main protagonists are male. I liked the way these two characters interacted with each other. My favorite performance in the film would have to be Max von Sydow who as always is a joy to watch.
I strongly disagree with those who write off Sleepless as nothing more then greatest hits from Argento’s past if anything Sleepless shows fans of Argento that if he wanted to he could still return to his old ways. I do however have a minor complaint about Sleepless and that is its slow second act which drags on with moments that are not that necessary to further the plot. The films opening act is a tour de force that is filled with many great moment of blood soaked carnage. The final act especially the last fifteen minutes are well done up to the point of the killer’s ironic demise which felt sudden and to hoaky. Ultimately Sleepless may not be classic Argento still it is not far behind despite its shortcomings.
Sleepless over the years is one of only handful of Dario Argento titles in which finding definitive release of the film. Virtually all the previous releases of Sleepless either lacked any quality extras, suffered from a cropped image or sub par transfers.
Extras for this release include a theatrical trailer, a stills gallery, filmographies, a making-of documentary (15 minutes), Dario Argento: An Eye for Horror documentary (57 minutes) and a Easter egg. MIA two DVD release for Sleepless is the best release of the film currently available as it not only comes with many quality extras it also comes with a strong audio/video presentation which trumps all other releases of Sleepless except the region 2 release by Medusa films in Italy.