Light Sleeper (1992)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

USA, 1992Carolco Pictures, Grain of Sand Productions, Seven Arts.  Screenplay by Paul Schrader.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by Richard Hornung.  Film Editing by

One of Schrader’s best explorations of the dark underbelly of the concrete jungle, starring Willem Dafoe as a drug dealer on the precipice of change. His classy supplier (Susan Sarandon, in a rare off-brand role for her) is planning to get out of the business and sell cosmetics, and a recent murder might be tied to a high-ranking client, plus he has just run into an old flame (Dana Delaney) who stopped using years ago and doesn’t want to have anything to do with them. Using Ed Lachman’s evocative lighting, Schrader presents a crisis of the soul without ever coming across as pretentious or trite, with powerful scenes of Dafoe emoting wordlessly while a cast of sterling character actors (including those with more fame ahead in the future such as Victor Garber, Sam Rockwell, David Spade and Jane Adams) provide excellent support.  Sarandon is stunning in this very different, dark and unheroic role for her, plus great photography, score and a terrific lead turn by Dafoe.

Berlin Film Festival:  In Competition

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