Most helpful positive review
A Shockingly Twisted Lynchian Thriller
on October 22, 2001
If you're expecting a typical thriller upon viewing Chasing Sleep, you're going to be extremely surprised by this powerful work. When I first saw Chasing Sleep during a recent visit to France, I was blown away. Weaving a complex story with sparse dialogue and fantastic cinematography, the film is like a David Lynch work filtered through a less frenetic David Fincher lens.
The film, which starts with the simple premise that a man can't fall asleep after his wife fails to return from work one day, combines numerous genre elements with great success. It ranges from realistic drama to surreal science fiction, with some horror, thriller, and action jimmies thrown in.
The talent behind this film is amazing. The highly underrated Jeff Daniels plays the central character, Ed Saxon, a discombobulated college professor whose life is falling apart at the same rate as his house. He brings a silent force to his character that leaves the viewer unclear as to his true state of mind and motives. Director Michael Walker forges a world unlike any other captured on film, using cold colors and shadows to paint a depressing portrait of self-imposed exile. The directory of photography allows powerful images to linger on the screen just long enough to be burned into your memory.
No other film that I have seen has spawned as much post-viewing conversation as Chasing Sleep. The details of the events that transpire during the course of the story allow an immense amount of personal interpretation, and fuels speculation as to what Bridges' Saxon really was capable of. The fact that this film was never given a theatrical release in the US certainly sours my perspective of American taste in film.