Light Sleeper (1992)

Light Sleeper (1992)

Willem DafoeSusan SarandonDana DelanyDavid Clennon
Paul Schrader


Light Sleeper (1992) is a English,Spanish,Hebrew,Italian,German movie. Paul Schrader has directed this movie. Willem Dafoe,Susan Sarandon,Dana Delany,David Clennon are the starring of this movie. It was released in 1992. Light Sleeper (1992) is considered one of the best Crime,Drama movie in India and around the world.

A drug dealer with upscale clientele is having moral problems going about his daily deliveries. A reformed addict, he has never gotten over the wife that left him, and the couple that use him for deliveries worry about his mental well-being and his effectiveness at his job. Meanwhile someone is killing women in apparently drug-related incidents.


Light Sleeper (1992) Reviews

  • Tough, gripping, and atmospheric.


    When the subject of modern noir films is discussed, there are always a small group of films that is mentioned. "The Last Seduction", "Blood Simple", "L.A. Confidential", etc. All worthy selections in their own right. Even better, I think, is "Light Sleeper", which is a noir film right down to the core of its being. Taking place almost entirely in afterhours Manhattan, it's the story of John LeTour (Willem Dafoe), a drug courier who works for Ann (Susan Sarandon), delivering cocaine to upscale clients. LeTour wanders around the city, chauffered about in a black sedan by a silent driver named Carlos. It's a lonely existence, one that has "noir" written all over it. But this isn't a shallow or violent or ironically self-aware redux of noir films. Much like another recent Schrader-scripted film, this plunges right into the heart of the story, not standing back at all, undetached. Unlike other recent noir films, such as "The Usual Suspects", this film's soul lies not in convoluted twists and turns, but in redemption. LeTour spends the film searching for a meaning to his life, looking in the wrong place, and eventually finding meaning and hope in a somewhat unlikely place. But in the end, he realizes that it's all he has left to hang onto. A beautiful film.

  • Schrader's best?


    (Slight spoilers) Light Sleeper is one of a related group of films, either written or directed by Schrader, in which the principal is typically a spiritual insomniac, sleepwalking through life. It includes Taxi Driver (1976), American Gigolo (1980) and, more recently, Bringing Out The Dead (1999). They are notable in the way interior states are portrayed, rather than the dynamics of plot, as is so often the case with conventional Hollywood product. Characteristic of this is the way criticism of the present film, for instance, has often focussed around the peremptory nature of the final gunplay. In most of this group of films, the pivotal scene is at the end, in the form of a cinematic 'epilogue', inspired by the transcendental conclusion of Bresson's Pickpocket (1950). (Schrader has written a book on a small group of directors, Ozu, Dreyer and Bresson, who have a particular world vision.) Typically Schrader's most successful films have at their centre a social outsider, each of who needs to justify themselves, or to be justified. An unstable war veteran, a male prostitute, a burnt out paramedic: in turn they stumble through an insecure world, a personal earthbound hell, or "a world on fire." Schrader's cinematic somnambulists ultimately find belated grace in the eyes of providence. But when it arrives, it is inevitably achieved through the catharsis of violence, deliberately initiated or not. Light Sleeper focuses on the midlife crisis of a drugs dealer, named John LeTour (Willem Dafoe). Although he is now 'clean' and dreaming of breaking away from his profession into a music career, LeTour is still travelling the city, delivering narcotics and working for his boss Ann (Susan Sarandon). Ann also dreams of escape, although in her case it is into a career in cosmetics - apt, as such items work in covering up people's real appearances. During one of his lonely, chauffeur-driven drop-offs through the night rain he meets a woman he was deeply involved with a few years back. Later he meets her again, this time with her sister, as they watch over their dying mother in hospital. Meanwhile, back in his flat LeTour sleeplessly completes a journal ("I fill up one book, throw it out, start another") and contemplates his drifting existence. As one deal follows another, his foreboding and pining for what might have been increases until, high on drugs he has just delivered, a woman is thrown from a window... This is Schrader's favourite film, perhaps his most personal. Full of religious overtones, it reflects his background and upbringing in ways that are less explicit in his other films. His parents were strict Calvinists (such was the home regime that it was not until he was 17 that he saw his first film). During his early years, before his big break with the sale of Taxi Driver he himself faced the spectre of drug abuse. He apparently spent long nights awake in porno theatres and overate wildly. While LeTour is not a personal portrait, it is clear that the dealer is someone with whose moral crisis the director has much sympathy, as he faces self-disgust. As the hero, the gap-toothed, haunted Dafoe is perfectly cast. Critics have remarked upon his white "prune-skinned horse-toothed beauty," the paleness of his flesh suggesting that he can only function at night. As he visits the hotel rooms and penthouse suites of addicts, passing through streets filled with the bagged garbage of the city, he does indeed seem damned, condemning himself over and over. Apparently doomed, he also fulfils the role of confessor. People, he notices, "think they can tell a DD anything - things they wouldn't tell anyone else." His fondness for cheap cologne, evident at key moments, suggests the act of anointing. In the excellent commentary that accompanies the film on the DVD, the director recounts how LeTour drifts round society, a 'peeper', a figure as anxious as Travis was angry in Taxi Driver, or as narcissistic as Julian Kay was in American Gigolo. For Schrader this is essentially the same figure, but one facing a mid life crisis of the soul. We can see the success of Schrader's approach by comparing his work to Landis' underrated Into The Night (1985), which takes sleeplessness as a theme, and in which the hero also ventures out into the unforgiving night. Landis' film is successful in its own terms, but lacks Schrader's moral rigour. The elegance, and cool classicism, of Light Sleeper produces a style, characteristic of the director, that matches content. There are no jump cuts or abruptness. Instead the director lets his camera remain at a distance or glide suggestively through the streets and corridors of LeTour's world, as if assessing events with a deliberation of its own. Much of the exterior work recalls Taxi Driver, notably when LeTour is being driven through the rain swept streets, although here the position is reversed. The driver in the earlier film has become the driven, perhaps reflecting the dealer's inability to overcome his present moral inertia. The supporting cast is uniformly excellent, notably Sarandon, who did the film as a favour to the director, ensuring its finance. Apparently based on a real acquaintance of Schrader, Ann is a notably glamorous supplier, one who remains un-besmirched by the nature of her business. Unlike LeTour, she survives the ups and downs of her profession, to presumably start her new life. It is her hand that offers LeTour moral succour in the notable final scene. The epilogue of Light Sleeper is the most important part of the film. "One and a half hours," blithely remarks the director in his commentary, just "to get to one shot." It's a shot that haunts Schrader, as already mentioned, and echoes down his work. LeTour has been concerned throughout the film that his luck is holding, even consulting a psychic to get favourable readings. By 'luck' Schrader really means grace, and his hero's final scene is as moving and as effective as the parallel one in American Gigolo. Perhaps more so, as here the religious allegory has been so thoroughgoing. Sharp-eyed viewers of the present title will see a very young David Spade playing the 'Theological Cokehead', sparking off blurry philosophy during one of LeTour's earlier deliveries. The director admits, with amusing candour, that this character is he himself, "the one who got high and talked about God." This is closer to the truth than he modestly suggests. In Light Sleeper, his best film, he reaches a career high detailing providence in a way both stylish and characteristic of his talents. Amazingly, a decade on from this film, Schrader is now in postproduction on Exorcist: The Beginning.

  • They made a great movie, and no one came.


    Like "Prince Of The City", this is another great drug movie, with the greatest set ever built for a movie, New York City. Very few people saw "Prince", and I'll wager fewer saw this one. It has a cast of New York stage actors, who make the usual run of Hollywood anorexic barbie dolls, and Sunset Strip would be tough guys, look exactly like what they are, refugees from some "hysterical" wise cracking sit-com. I have to mention each one of these artists because they're so incredibly good. Willem Dafoe, Susan Sarandon, Dana Delany (what a performance), David Clennon, Mary Beth Hurt, Jane Adams(the looney sister from "Happiness"), David Spade, and last, but certainly not least Victor Garber. Paul Schrader wrote and directed, and if he never does another production, his mother can know that she gave birth to a major cinematic artist. The story can impress people as very hokey. Dafoe is a coke pusher. But he's very sensitive and loving, and is looking for a "better life". He's so guilt ridden as a pusher, he can hardly sleep. Oh, give me a break. But wait. With Dafoe I bought it completely. I was even rooting for him to get back with his former junkie lover Dana Delany. Delany and Susan Sarandon give major performances, Sarandon as a major supplier also looking to go straight as a cosmetic maven. This is a major manual on acting....look, learn, and enjoy.

  • Long night's journey


    Paul Schrader is a director whose films should be seen more often. He is a man that never compromises and tackles adult themes with great panache, as he has amply demonstrated throughout his distinguished career. He was long associated with Martin Scorsese, but when he decided to go on his own, he showed his talent was there all the time. Mr. Schrader's films have a sense of style that are not easily matched by many of today's filmmakers. He knows what seems to work, and what not. His movies show a sophistication, as we mere mortals, are invited to participate, even though we haven't received the invitation in the mail. Most comments in this forum are excellent, so we won't even attempt to add anything that hasn't been said before. "Light Sleeper" is supposed to be one of Mr. Schrader's favorite films, and it's clear to see why. He has infused the film with characters that are easy to see why they are portrayed on the screen. Willem Dafoe is obviously an actor held in high esteem by Mr. Schrader. As John LaTour, Mr. Dafoe is at his most introspective self. His character shows a complexity that is hard to match. The rest of the cast is excellent. Susan Sarandon is perfect as Ann. Dana Delaney is Marianne. Mary Beth Hurt, Victor Garber, Sam Rockwell, David Spade, are seen in supporting roles. The great atmospheric music of Michael Been is heard in the background and it helps add another layer in the texture of the finished product. Edward Lachman does an amazing job with the way he photographed the film that includes a lot of night time scenes in Manhattan. Take a look at the film, as Mr. Schrader will impress, even a casual viewer.

  • This film has to be one of Schrader's best films for sure.


    "Light Sleeper" is a great and very effective yarn that follows John LeTour (Willem Dafoe), a drug trafficker/former addict who seems miserable and lonely while bringing drugs to users in the Big Apple. LeTour's life is put to the test when he finds out from Robert (David Clennon), that their boss, Ann (Susan Sarandon), is finally switching to cosmetics instead of drugs and an old flame, Marianne Joseph (Dana Delany), comes to town to visit her ailing mother. The movie moves at a steady pace and doesn't get ugly until the fierce and bloody shootout near the end of the movie. I must note that I'm a big fan of Dafoe and the strong (and moving) performance that he gives here is why I admire him a lot. The film's photography, shot by Ed Lachman ("The Limey", "The Virgin Suicides"), is nothing short of brilliant and beautiful. In the early moments of the film, there are several small piles of garbages that nearly cover up the sidewalks and the bottom of the street lights. Dafoe, who also narrates the movie, mentions that there's a strike. Also, the musical score that's composed and performed by Michael Been, is good to listen to and it stayed with me during the whole film. Paul Schrader (who directed the movie and wrote the screenplay) knows very well how to handle the film here with a simple and wise approach. Most of his earlier (and recent) work, dating back (and now) to the screenplay(s) that he wrote for Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" and "Bringing Out The Dead" and one of his own films - "American Giglo" make great examples of anyone who works at night and feels agitated. "Light Sleeper" itself has to be one of Schrader's best films for sure.


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