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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

Sleeping Dogs (2024) - Mystery in the Mind

Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.5/5 stars)

Released 03-22-2024

Watched 05-16-2024

Reviewed 05-20-2024

Rented from iTunes

"Must be one of the benefits of your condition. Can't remember the bad times."

Adam Cooper’s directorial debut, "Sleeping Dogs," delivers a gripping crime thriller that’s both intriguing and emotionally charged. Adapted from E.O. Chirovici’s novel "The Book of Mirrors," this film combines a strong narrative with commendable performances from a stellar cast, making it a worthy addition to the genre.

Russell Crowe stars as Roy Freeman, a retired homicide detective grappling with Alzheimer’s disease. Crowe’s portrayal of Freeman is both compelling and heart-wrenching, capturing the struggle of a man whose sharp mind is slowly fading. His performance adds depth to the character, making Freeman's journey to solve an old murder case deeply personal and engaging. Karen Gillan plays Laura Baines, the mysterious woman whose revelations force Freeman to revisit the murder of a college professor. Gillan brings a perfect blend of intensity and vulnerability to her role, complementing Crowe’s performance beautifully. Marton Csokas, as Dr. Joseph Wieder, provides a sinister presence, while Tommy Flanagan’s Jimmy Remis and Harry Greenwood’s Richard Finn round out the cast with solid performances.

Cooper, who co-wrote the screenplay with Bill Collage, does an admirable job of translating the novel’s intricate plot to the screen. The film’s pacing keeps the audience engaged, gradually revealing secrets and building suspense. Cooper’s direction ensures that the complex narrative remains coherent, while the atmospheric cinematography captures the moody, tense ambiance necessary for a thriller. Shot in Victoria, Australia, "Sleeping Dogs" benefits from its evocative settings that enhance the film’s dark and brooding tone. The production values are high, with careful attention to detail in the set design and cinematography, which effectively mirror Freeman’s fragmented memories and the murky waters of his investigation.

While "Sleeping Dogs" excels in many areas, it’s not without its issues. The film’s climax, although surprising, feels rushed and could have used more development to leave a lasting impact. The resolution may leave some viewers wanting more closure. Nevertheless, these minor shortcomings do not significantly detract from the overall experience.

"Sleeping Dogs" is a captivating crime thriller that successfully combines a strong storyline with powerful performances. Crowe’s portrayal of a detective battling his own mind while seeking justice is particularly noteworthy. Despite a slightly underwhelming conclusion, the film is an engaging watch, especially for fans of the genre.


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