The Perfect Sleep opens like a cinematographer’s dream (even slightly echoing the photography style of Rodney Smith). Beautifully framed and realised, and on the brink of the surrealistic; this gangster and gumshoe thriller follows the familiar traits of the monotone voice over anti-hero as he is drowned in a world of crime and sleaze.
We recently had Give ‘Em Hell Malone featuring a high profile cast, but The Perfect Sleep acts like its second cousin. Well, lesser known cousin anyway. However, it is no less stylish and approval must be shown to the director and cinematographer.
Crossing over with mafia type gangster dramas there is much honour, reputation and family members at stake here. Our hero played by Anton Pardoe (also the screenwriter) is a lonely soul with his thoughts trapped off in some unreachable region of the brain as he is brought into the world through tragedy and brought up to have the world set upon him, thanks to some over bearing and selfish grown-ups around him and the choices they made. So, becoming an adult himself isn’t fun, he has his enemies readymade for him and a love so deep for the woman he grew up with.
From here the film drifts in and out of consciousness as the narrative takes us from one hazy scene to the next. It is obvious that the budget is miniscule – but with such creative forces behind the lens it is frankly amazing what they have done with some empty rooms and the proper use of light. No location in this film goes unused, so you can just imagine how much time the director spent on making each scene look arty. This may be partially at the expense of drama but, then again, the script isn’t the easiest on the mind so the more flamboyant the images the better it will aid the narrative and even the careers of those involved.
There is nothing lazy about this film and if you are a lover of arty pictures then this could well become a cult treat that sticks in the mind. I highly recommend it for those who love visual style as it’s almost inspirational to see what you can frame on this type of a budget.