Scrolling through Amazon Prime/Lovefilm/Netflix/Whatever, you can come across films you’d heard about many years before and somehow forgot about, or indeed titles you’ve never even heard of but which feature a favourite actor or director. With Chasing Sleep, I had vague recollections of hearing people say good things about it. It also featured Jeff Daniels, an actor I’ve always respected but who rarely gets the big hit he deserves. The blurb made the film sound interesting enough, so I decided to give it a shot in the hope that I’d stumbled upon a new favourite, similar to how I first encountered Fallen, Dark City, and a few others many moons ago.
Chasing Sleep does have an interesting premise similar to many thrillers of old – Daniels, a professor, wakes one morning to find that his wife is not in the house. After a few calls to family and friends and eventually Police, he finds out that his wife’s car has been abandoned near the house of someone she had been suspected of having an affair with. Hallucinations, guilt, cops, students, etc are all visited upon Daniels as we try to find out the truth, but it becomes clear that he is losing his grip on reality, on sanity, and that he is unsure of his own actions never mind those of his wife.
This is a very slow-burning thriller that doesn’t give the viewer too many answers, leaving the whereabouts of the wife as well as each character’s motives and actions open-ended and vague. Daniels is effective in the lead, giving a drowsy performance where he rarely strays from confused, tired, and moving in a dreamlike and passive manner. The surrounding cast do a fine job in ambiguous and minor roles, with Gil Bellows, Julian McMahon, and Emily Bergl each acting as a distraction to the steadily collapsing Daniels.
Have you seen or heard about Chasing Sleep? Is it something you would be interested in seeing or is it not something you would recommend? Let us know in the comments!
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