Light Sleeper (1991) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Two thumbs sorta in the middle somewhere, tending toward upward.

Scoop's comments in white: 

Willem Dafoe plays a drug dealer with style and panache, and no habit. He only provides in-call, to the very rich. (He's just the delivery boy, actually, for the upscale drug kingpin, or rather queenpin, Susan Sarandon)

Dana Delany is his former lover who wants him to stay away from her at all costs. We are led to think it is because she has moved on to a good new life away from dope dealers, but it turns out she has a dark secret to keep from him. There's also a murder mystery in there somewhere, and a psychic, and ... and it's a disappointingly draggy movie, with very little edge or suspense, considering the talent involved (Susan Sarandon, Dafoe, Delany, and director Paul Schrader). 

It's not a bad movie, really, and it's performed well, but it's mostly about Dafoe and Sarandon planning a life after drug dealing. Sarandon wants to start a line of natural cosmetics. Sounds interesting, eh? You'd expect more from Shrader, the author of such cinema classics as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and the Last Temptation of Christ. Of course, in all three of those cases, Schrader's script was brought to life by a certain diminutive genius named Scorsese. Schrader's best films as a director are probably this film, Blue Collar, Hardcore and The Comfort of Strangers, all of which are far below the quality of the Scorsese collaborations.

Although the flick is OK and worth a look if your kind of movie, I recommend against buying the DVD which has virtually no features, no widescreen version, and a mediocre 4:3 transfer. 


Dana Delany showed her breasts and a bit of her pubes 
Tuna's comments in yellow

Light Sleeper (1991) is written and directed by Paul Schrader, and is the third in a trilogy of his writings, after Taxi Driver and American Gigolo. All three are about disenfranchised, lonely men, trying to overcome their past and escape loneliness. Willem Dafoe gives a gripping performance as an aging ex addict, who has stopped using, but still deals because that is the only job he knows. He works for Susan Sarandon, who sells to up-scale New Yorkers, but dreams of retiring and opening a cosmetic company.

DVD info from Amazon.

no widescreen, no meaningful features

Dafoe runs into an old girlfriend from his junkie days, Dana Delany, who is clean and sober, and is visiting her mother in a hospital. It is clear that she never got over him, but she fears that he would lead her back to addiction. They end up in bed once in a hot, but not very explicit scene. 

Performances by Dafoe and Sarandon stand out in what is a very well-acted film. 

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three and a half stars. Ebert 4/4, Maltin 3/4. Tuna and I see it more in the neighborhood of two and a half to three.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.8, about consistent with the critical consensus, maybe a bit less enthusiastic.
  • With their dollars ... it grossed a mere million dollars. The budget was a modest five million.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+ (both reviewers). 

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