Monday, May 03, 2010

On Bullshit

Harry G. Frankfurt's modern classic: On Bullshit.

You can't talk in your sleep if you don't sleep

On Saturday Amy's coworker took us all to see In My Sleep, a fun indie thriller.

In it Marcus (Philip Winchester) finds himself leading a double life due to his sleepwalking. He's already a parasomniac philanderer, but might be a murderer too.

What In My Sleep does well is balance Marcus's sleepwalking blackouts against his growing suspicion and horror, and I really respected that while it briefly flirted with occult imagery, the film stuck to a psychological mystery. Given a conceit that could have easily stuck to clichés, the realistic portrayal of parasomnia grounded the film and was more effective as a tension device.

That said, In My Sleep does suffer from the indie thriller malady of trying to fit in every twist possible—the film ends up being about half an hour too long, mostly thrashing at the end between two equally plausible solutions before finally settling on one. The reveal could have come sooner, and the movie would have been tighter for it.

This is also a film with a lot of peripheral appeal—The cast is pretty strong, and even though Amy Aquino's campy hardboiled detective ("You know what I like about sunflower seeds? You have to crack 'em just right to get the good stuff.") plays more as comedic relief than a real adversary. The overall tone has more in common with NCIS than Law and Order, and that the closest comparisons are television, not film, seems intentional.

As a side-note, there's also more beefcake in this movie than anything I've seen since 300. Marcus seems to have his shirt off in three-quarters of the movie, and I assume is being sponsored by a boxer-brief company. Even the poster's got him naked. This isn't a film to see if you're in some sort of post-gay recovery program.

One more rewrite and In My Sleep might have been fantastic; instead it's pretty good and worth seeing.