Review by lou.
Gem and Barry are two lonely people who can’t sleep. They spend hours lying awake while every- one else is asleep. They are both stuck in a rut, both of them working dead-end jobs at a call center. Gem can’t seem to let go of a stifling relationship while Barry can’t let go of a great loss. They explore the city at night and find ways to kill time. Though there’s a certain loneliness when you’re awake in the dead of night, there’s also a bond that develops. Gem and Barry talk about zombies, love and everything in between. Together they fight the loneliness that keeps them awake. In the end, they realize, that even though you cannot cure insomnia, you just need someone to lean on until the sun comes up.
Prime Cruz delivers a refresher in Sleepless – a peek into the lives of insomniacs that isn’t as romantic as it looks like, for in it lies a story about one’s personal conflict; only rather one that is shallow once examined from a distance. Insomnia here is (somehow) made out to look like the cousin of death, and it brings forth characters who seem like they’re missing an energy that had been once there before; a breath of life that has slowly diminished over time. Urban life is where its focused, and in there, we meet Glaiza de Castro’s Gem, and Dominic Roco’s Barry, who explore this nocturnal playground – only to sit beside an emptiness that almost totally consumes the entire scenery, and everything else. This hollow feeling that emanates so true then becomes the cause of the film’s entire mediocrity that gets steadfast and ruinous even – seeing how its premise sounds pleasantly new for the ears to hear.
The usual storytelling isn’t relied upon, and so, it flows wherever it can. Various subplots that appear in its way are meant to thicken the plot, yet they virtually never manage to shape the characters as well as they intended to, as it longs for a depth that isn’t much present in its surroundings. What compensates for those shortcomings though, are the dialogues that are made entertaining by both Glaiza de Castro and Dominic Roco who, makes known the significance of their own blabbering in subtlety, setting aside the intimacy that could’ve been brewed. In those moments, they release their frustrations, or so it seems, through talks that stem from loneliness, stress, and boredom – validating what the film is trying to lay its fingers on; the pressures of urban life. Relatability shows up in it, and it winds up as the chains that bind us to these two, no matter how thin the link ends up being in all reality.
The weirdness that speaks in their conversations are enticing and real, most specially when it comes to showing us who they truly are, and what they feel on the inside, we get a hint of where the film is getting at. Perhaps it couldn’t be seen immediately, but nevertheless, it remains there, just waiting to be found once you walk past the electricity that Glaiza and Roco have produced to get rid of the drought that their feet have stepped in. Summing it all up, Sleepless isn’t something special, but it readily admits that in one way or another. The darkness of the night may find more life in BP Valenzuela’s music, just as it does in Tey Clamor’s images of it which capture vibes to be felt, but those aren’t only what it can offer as it makes itself worthy of being seen. Through its depiction of the troubles that eat up our lives; failure and longing – both of which could keep us up at night, it easily finds, and approaches an audience to embrace, and open up to.
Sleepless is now showing in select SM cinemas for a 1 week run as part of Cine Lokal. Catch it in these following cinemas:
SM Bacoor, SM Cebu, SM Fairview, SM Iloilo, SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, SM North EDSA, SM Southmall