Sleeping Dogs (2024) 

Following a new treatment for memory loss, a former detective looks back into a past case, opening doors he may never be able to close. 

Written by Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, and E.O. Chirovici, with Cooper directing, Sleeping Dogs takes an interesting subject, memory loss in someone whose career requires them to remember everything, adds researchers, a love triangle subplot, an old murder case reopened, and turns it all into something incredibly bland. The story feels like it has too many characters, too many storylines, too many of too many things. While this could lead to total confusion, in this case it leads to boredom mostly. The writing makes the film feel both dated and like it’s part of an era that hasn’t existed. The directing works with this quite well, meaning that it follows the same moods and tones, not really doing much to save the film from its script.  

The performances here are what will keep the viewer interested. Or at least some of the performances. Russell Crowe as the lead Roy Freeman isn’t bad at all, he’s good even, but definitely not at his best. The same can be said about Karen Gillan as Laura Baines, she’s there, she’s decent, but she’s not great. Also, her character is simply grating. Yes, some of it is on purpose, but to keep the viewer connected, she should have had something to make them like her at least a little bit. The best performance of the bunch comes courtesy of Marton Csokas in the part of Joseph Wieder. His work is solid here, he makes the most of each of his scenes, running away with the whole film while having much less screen time than Crowe and Gillan. His work shows what an actor can do to salvage a part in a film that is not exactly top of the line. He saves the film for this viewer, but not enough to encourage a second viewing. 

Now, on the positive side, the film looks and sounds great. The cinematography by ben Nott (with the editing by Matt Villa) really makes the film look fantastic and allows the viewer to really enjoy the film without unnecessary visual frills (or too much editing everywhere). The film has a balanced look with careful lighting, framing, and general image work. These departments really did all they could to make this a top-shelf film. Even the music by David Hirschfelder works really well here without giving away scenes before they develop.  

While the film looks and sounds great and some the performances are doing what they can to uplift the film, the story is bogged down by a script and direction that take what could have been a fun story and turn it into something much blander than it deserves to be. With issues in the writing, some of the performances. With a 1 hour and 50 minutes run time, the film still somehow manages to feel about 3 hours long and loses the attention pretty early on. It then struggles to gain it back, especially once Marton Csokas is pretty much gone from the screen for the most part of the film. This is one of those films that should have been so good, it could have been much stronger, but it failed and landed in the bland part of cinema to be forgotten as soon as it is turned off.