After all the big summer blockbusters, I think it’s time to turn to more thought-provoking European movies. And criminally underrated Spanish psychological thriller Sleep Tight is a perfect choice. We have seen a multitude of Spanish movies that are really good but somehow they don’t end up reaching a wide audience. I don’t know why that is. I guess people don’t like reading subtitles or some shit. Which is a shame because they offer so much more than classic Hollywood movies. Original plots, fascinating characters and a very distinctive visual style.
And let’s be perfectly clear, these are not some straight-to-DVD movies with a small budget and amateur actors. They’re full-bloodied cinema masterpieces, with phenomenal actors and intelligent scripts. Immediately after watching Mientras Duermes or Sleep Tight, I checked out what other movies did this talented crew made. Celda 211 was my first choice and it proved to be also great.
I was talking about the originality and the pureness of the ideas in European cinema, and if you remember a couple months earlier I reviewed El Habitante Incierto, another phenomenal Spanish movie with a great script. Sleep Tight or Mientras Duermes, is a Spanish movie and I implore you to see the original version in Spanish as with any other movie that has a dubbed version. This has nothing to do with how good the dubbing is, it’s a matter of an atmosphere.
If I had to describe this movie with one word it would be subversive. The plot feels at the same time very fucked up and real. It generates this uneasy feeling in your gut as you slowly start to realize that movies you’ve been watching have been avoiding topics like this. And we really need to start talking about them.
One more thing about this movie is very disturbing and that is the sympathy for Cesar that I felt throughout the movie, although I maybe shouldn’t. The suspense, the twists, the acting… I could go on and on telling you how good this movie is and how the atmosphere has that special vibe, that space-time continuum thingy captured, so every time you decide to watch it, you will relive it…
You probably noticed that half of the review space has gone in some gibberish and not a word was said about the actual movie. The reason for this is that I am afraid to say almost anything because it might ruin your viewing experience. I dived into this, now already cult, a movie without any information and was amazed. And so far everyone that has seen it had the same reaction. Some scenes are nerve-wracking and incredibly tense, so be prepared for them.
César works as a janitor in a building and is pretty much disappointed in life. He has no friends nor a girlfriend, no interests, and nothing to make him happy. His menial job and the smiling faces of other people who seem to be doing just fine greet him every day. One of them is Clara, a beautiful girl living in the same building. Soon she becomes a subject of obsession for Cesar and to what degree this goes is up to you to find out…
Director: Jaume Balagueró
Writer: Alberto Marini
Cast: Luis Tosar, Marta Etura, Alberto San Juan, Petra Martínez, Iris Almeida
Fun Facts: Luis Tosar (Cesar) and Marta Etura (Clara) are in real life a couple