SLEEPERS [1996] movie review

December 31, 2011 · Print This Article

When a movie is entirely predictable the story and characters have to be very compelling. SLEEPERS is successful enough in its execution as a sweeping drama starting with life on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen for four 13-year old boys following their paths until their mid-twenties. As with most movies, I enjoy the origin part of the story much more than the conclusions in the third act. I would rather have seen an entire movie with the young boys and avoid the hard reality of their adult lives.

The boys are very mischievous, and actually rather criminal in their adolescent behaviors. If you cannot look past that the movie will not work for you at all. The same thing goes for Robert De Niro as a former criminal turned priest who is a father figure to all the boys.


The story is so obvious in who is right and who is wrong, that it does get frustrating sitting through the 2.5 hour running time as there is no question who the viewer should be rooting for. It also does not help that the very clever plan to spring two of the boys, now adults, from an airtight murder wrap is spelled out way ahead of time so all the viewer has to do is wait for the pieces to fall into place. I cannot say it was satisfying seeing characters we despise get their just desserts because of the obviousness of it all and the drawn (dragged?) out storyline.


The first half of the movie works and holds the viewer’s interest, the second half could be 50% shorter and still work. As SLEEPERS is, it stands as a pretty good movie, but should not have to make the viewer feel like it is something that must be endured.


Got something to say?