Light Sleeper (1992)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102307/

Director: Paul Schrader

Willem Dafoe stars in this cheesy 1990’s night time New York story with romantic sax music and all. Dafoe is a drug runner for Susan Sarandon (if you can believe that), who is having doubts about the future saying that she wants to quit the game. He decides to start keeping a journal where he mostly reveals his confused feelings about the profession and how it doesn’t seem to make him a lot of money to plan ahead. On top of his work woes, he’s still in love with his ex-girlfriend who is in town for her mother’s funeral. It turns out she’s also an ex-junkie but doesn’t want anything to do with him anymore. He tries to plead, like all junkies would and things take a turn for the worse when he finds her at a customer’s house, high out of her mind, and probably offering sexual favors to strangers.

This dramatic atmospheric story gets kudos for the low key New York night time ambiance throughout. Susan Sarandon is a total fail as a drug dealer who wants to quit the game and start a cosmetics line. Yeah, that’s more like her I thought.  Just as in 4:44 Last Day on Earth (Ferrara 2011), Dafoe gives his best drug addled actor impression. Probably the best thing about this movie, to watch him strut around, put up with annoying druggies, under high stress from avoiding police and chasing down his ex girlfriend.

Interesting noir attempt with the voiceover by Dafoe, but overall too kitsch to consider it a serious film (zero points for authenticity). Sarandon is laughable. Bad ending. Another reminder to not shoot smack but by that time we were well into the nineties and very aware.

3 Stars because of Dafoe!

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Categories: Notes

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