Frédéric Jardin‘s french film Sleepless Night might be one of the best and tightest written action thrillers I’ve seen in the past few years. The film is kind of like Die Hard meets 24 by way of Taken, but never falling into many of the genre cliches set-up by those films.

A drug heist goes wrong in the streets of Paris, as one of the drug carriers escapes after stabbing one of the thieves and getting a glimpse of his face. It turns out, the two masked men are actually two police officers who decided to plan the heist because they really needed money. The film stars Tomer Sisley as Vincent, a lieutenant who now has a bad stab wound he is unable to get treated in fear that he will be connected with the incident, and a huge bag of coke.

The bag of coke belongs to a powerful mob boss/nightclub owner named Jose (Serge Riaboukine), who kidnaps Vincent’s son in hopes to reclaim his “stolen property.” Vincent has until the end of the night to return the stash and save his son. The rest of the story takes place almost entirely in Jose’s huge extravagant nightclub/restaurant complex over the course of the night, for the most part, in real time.

Vincent somehow loses possession of the bag and must figure a way to save his son before its too late. Detectives have followed him to the club and are on his tail, and his wound is becoming a major issue (a ticking time bomb, if you will).

I would be shocked if this film isn’t optioned for an American remake within the week. Tight and contained, Sleepless Night offers so many awesome twists and turns, leaving you hanging on the edge of your seat. The characters are smart, always one step ahead of the audience. Every time you think you know where the story is heading, it takes a huge swerve.

The contained nightclub location offers so many creative possibilites, from the tight crowds in the main dance room, to the small hallways in the kitchen, to the table and people filled restaurant room. Each offers different challenges and different characters. Chase sequences are shot and choreographed in unique and interesting ways, sometimes from first person. The film was franticly shot by Clint Eastwood’s long-time cinematographer Tom Stern.

/Film Rating: 8 out of 10

Watch the trailer below:

After the screening I recorded a video blog with Alex from FirstShowing and Jordan from FilmStage. Watch it now embedded below:

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