Sleep with Me: DVD review
|REVIEWS - DVD REVIEWS|
This was not the kind of 'sleeping' I had in mind ...
Rory Kelly's feature debut, Sleep With Me, boasts an impressive cast and looks good on paper but there's a reason that this 1994 movie is only just coming to DVD. The idea of having six writers scribing different scenes is an interesting one and brave for a first-time feature director. The inclusion of a substantial Quentin Tarantino cameo theoretically raises the street-cred of this mid-90s flick, but unfortunately fails to make the film stand out.
A road-movie opening clearly indicates two friends are desperately competing for one girl's affections until Sarah marries Joseph, leaving Frank to dangerously reflect. Kelly then uses black-and-white video recordings of friends' best wishes on the eve of their wedding, black and white camcorded footage of a pool party and eight unequal titled sections to tell this tale of lust, rivalry and jealousy.
Alongside the film's name, the title track's amusing line “I want to make you howl” is a fair indication of how steamy Sleep With Me gets. Clearly quirky in its realisation and structure, Sleep With Me attempts to transcend romantic drama by dabbling in the comedic. The relationship between Nigel and his mother-in-law is particularly entertaining; while the inclusion of Lauren and Athena at the Poker table is more irritating than amusing. Tarantino overplays his cameo as awkwardly drippy film geek, Sid, but Kelly's decision to break up his Top Gun “man's struggle with his own homosexuality” speech means the punch line is actually worth waiting for.
The script effectively creates the allusion of consistency (despite the film's multiple scribes) with some fantastically audacious lines, courtesy of the central three. Joseph muses “I can't wait until we're married then I'll never have to have sex with you again” while Sarah admits to Frank: “That first time Joe and I broke up, I almost went after you.” One of the most memorable reflections comes from one of Joe's ever-faithful friends who reassures him: “Sometimes marriage is like having dog shit on your shoe and nothing to scrape it off.”
Smacking of the mid-90s when Sleep With Me was first released, the film feels exceedingly disjointed but certainly emphasizes the dangers of the “a kiss is a kiss” attitude characters seem to mistakenly believe. Sexual tensions are certainly high but the lack of chemistry between the lead trio detracts from the drama. There's no real sense of time to indicate the speed of the disintegration of Joe and Sarah's marriage; and a bizarre final scene philosophizing that "someday we'll live for 500 years and won't be able to sit still for five seconds” appears to be have been directly lifted from some other film because it's so out-of-place.
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