BLU-RAY/DVD REVIEWS

003603Reviews & Counting
SEARCH BY TITLE # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Sleepers
BLU-RAY disk
Aug 18, 2011 By: Chris Bumbray
Sleepers order download
Director:
Barry Levinson

Actors:
Jason Patric
Kevin Bacon
Brad Pitt
Dustin Hoffman
Robert De Niro

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

star Printer-Friendly version
comment
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In Hellís Kitchen, circa 1968, four boys are sent to a reformatory after a prank backfires and almost kills someone. While imprisoned, the four boys are repeatedly tortured and sexual assaulted by a group of guards, led by the sadistic Nokes (Kevin Bacon). Thirteen years later, two (Billy Crudup & Ron Eldard) of the now adult boys, encounter Nokes in a bar, and murder him. Theyíre put on trial, but two of the other now-grown boys, Shakes (Jason Patric) and Michael (Brad Pitt) put in motion a plan to not only get their friends acquitted, but to also finally get revenge on the other three guards who ruined their lives.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
SLEEPERS came out in the fall of 1996, when I was about fourteen years-old- the same age as the boys in the film. I remember seeing it on video a few months later, and it having a major impact, and in the years since itís been a film Iíve eagerly revisited from time to time. I think its Barry Levinsonís best film by a long shot (only RAIN MAN comes close). Surprisingly, the critical reaction to SLEEPERS was mixed, and in the fifteen years since its release itís been more or less forgotten.

The reason for this is without a doubt the fact that just prior to the film opening, it was revealed that Lorenzo Carcaterra, who wrote the memoirs the film was based on (with him being the Shakes character) pretty much made up the whole story, with no New York records existing that mention any allegations of abuse, nor a trial such as the one depicted in the film. For what itís worth, Carcaterra has stood by his story, but the film now carries a disclaimer it didnít when I saw it back in Ď96.

Truth or fiction, the events in SLEEPERS could have happened, and Iím sure thereís hundreds of similar stories out there that just havenít been told. Itís a powerful film, and one that always shakes me up, no matter how many times I see it. The cast is superb, with De Niro having a great part as the boysí streetwise priest, and Dustin Hoffman hamming it up as a cokehead lawyer who comes into play later in the film. Jason Patric was so good in SLEEPERS that everyone thought heíd be the next Tom Cruise, although an ill-advised turn as an action hero in the disastrous SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL made sure that never happened, although heís still brilliant from time to time, in films like NARC. Brad Pitt also got a lot of buzz off this, but truthfully, Pitt hadnít yet evolved into the actor he is now (that only happened in í99 with FIGHT CLUB), and heís a bit of the weak link here. Ron Eldard really steals the show for me, even though he only has one really big scene (a great one, where he looks in a bathroom mirror and debates whether or not to kill Bacon).

That said, the best part of SLEEPERS is the first half of the film, which concentrates on the boys, and features a powerhouse performance from Brad Renfro, who tragically died young after wrestling with demons of his own for many years.

THE EXTRAS
Zip- other than the trailer .
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
If youíve never seen SLEEPERS, I recommend picking this one up sight unseen, as itís an extremely compelling drama that deserves more of a following than it has. If you havenít seen it in a while, but remember thinking it was only so-so, give it another shot. Youíll be amazed how itís improved over the years.
Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

9:30PM on 08/18/2011
I always loved this film. Why add a disclaimer? I remember all the controversy at the time and it was said that it WASN'T N.Y., it happened somewhere he wouldn't name. I think it adds to the film to be guessing..Did it really happen or not?
I always loved this film. Why add a disclaimer? I remember all the controversy at the time and it was said that it WASN'T N.Y., it happened somewhere he wouldn't name. I think it adds to the film to be guessing..Did it really happen or not?
Your Reply:



3:01PM on 08/18/2011
Such an Underrated movie - Great review - Maybe people will actually watch it now - In my opinion this is one of Deniro's best roles.
Such an Underrated movie - Great review - Maybe people will actually watch it now - In my opinion this is one of Deniro's best roles.
Your Reply:



JoBlo's T-Shirt Shoppe | support our site... Wear Our Gear!