Light Sleeper

Dir: Paul Schrader
1991
Paul Schrader’s film of a drug dealer trying to get on with life
though he knows it’s probably passed him by, is a lighter, NewAgey-er version of his Taxi Driver, with William Defoe keeping a diary and surveying the garbage that lies in his path, metaphorically and literally (there’s an interminable garbage strike that threatens to swallow New York throughout. Susan Sarandon plays his supplier, who also plans to get out and go legit with a makeup company. Pushing him to find a way out is the random appearance of his ex-wife (Dana Delaney) who knows she shouldn’t get involved again. This is a city of expensive apartments and restaurants, where even a ratty apartment looks nicer than anything in Taxi Driver. But, like that film, Light Sleeper will end in blood, something to wash away the streets.
It’s a very sad, hopeless movie, though the characters are more in-control and nobler. It still doesn’t help them out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves.
The film is marred by a lack of momentum and a bloody awful song that plays throughout, which sound like Leonard Cohen crossed with Michael Bolton. It truly was cold-turkey music.

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