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Sundance '14 Review: THE SLEEPWALKER

Movie Review Sundance 2014 by Joey Paur

The Sleepwalker is one of those slow burning kind of thrillers. Throughout the film you sense that something is brooding in the background of the story, like there's something coming that you can't see, and it's something bad. It has this great creepy music to help play with your thoughts and emotions as well. It really does a great job building the suspense of the movie. The only problem is, that terribly bad thing that is supposed to happen... never happens. That awful reveal that you felt coming throughout the whole film never comes. There is absolutely no satisfying conclusion to this movie, and it's one of those films where you wonder what the point of making it was. 

The one thing I will give this movie is that it stimulated my imagination. It also had a very eerie atmosphere to it that I liked. As I watched the movie I imagined all of the bad things that could have happened, but never did. In fact, there was no closure to anything. Even the way the film ended made no sense. I just didn't understand what the filmmaker was trying to say. Maybe the whole thing was to stimulate the audience's imagination, but seriously, there were still events that took place that were pretty ridiculous. Especially the ending that they went with.

Here's the official synopsis that gives a little glimpse of what the story is about,

Kaia enjoys a quiet life with her boyfriend, Andrew, on her late father’s secluded, 1920s, Le Corbusier–style estate, isolated from the rest of her rural Massachusetts town. Their restoration of the elaborate, but gutted, home is interrupted by the middle-of-the-night arrival of Kaia’s sister, Christine, followed the next morning by Christine’s WASPish fiancé, Ira. Immediate friction develops among the quartet as Christine announces her pregnancy, questions Kaia’s relationship with Andrew, and objects to the relics of her and Kaia’s shared childhood being discarded.

Yes, there is a great deal of tension in the film, but there is no climax. There are also a ton of questions that are never answered. It's actually kind of sad because it was an interesting movie, but unfortunately, there was no payoff for the audience. In the end it was just a big tease and an empty story. 

The acting was decent enough though, it doesn't star anyone you would be familiar with but the cast includes Gitte Witt, Christopher Abbott, Brady Corbet, and Stephanie Ellis. The movie was co-written and directed by Mona Fastvold, and it was done well. Its main problem was the story… it seemed to lack a third act. It's like the film just stopped right before the movie was supposed to get really good.  I can't help but imagine as they were writing the movie they came to a point where they didn't know what to do with the story so they just kind came up with a couple silly and uninteresting scapegoats and ended it. The movie had potential, it just wasn't all that it could be.

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