Friday, August 3, 2012

SLEEP TIGHT (2011) review

Sleep Tight (2011) (1st viewing) d. Balaguero, Jaume (Spain)

A sociopathic doorman/desk jockey/maintenance man (Luis Tosar) at a Spanish apartment complex antagonizes those around him in supremely subtle, sinister ways. His most calculated measures, reserved for a beautiful young tenant (Marta Etura), should have most single females climbing the walls with a case of the skeeves. This glimpse at the man behind the friendly smile, the one we pass every day, resonates deeply on the creepy scale, perhaps because there is no tangible cause for his casual maliciousness. The problem with Balaguero’s and screenwriter Alberto Marini’s approach – if it is a problem – is that Tosar is too despicable to generate any real viewer empathy. We’ve been given menacing monsters as our protagonist before, but either an explanation for their psychosis is provided or they exude enough raw charm that we root for them in spite of their depravity. Here, we desperately want Tosar to get caught, the tension generated because he continues to elude detection. It’s a strange, if effective, dynamic but one that, especially in the final act, left me feeling a bit unclean. Maybe this is the filmmakers’ intention, to leave us stewing in our discomfort and helplessness, but seems purely mean-spirited in the final analysis.

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