x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018


The efforts of all involved don't so much amount to a sleepwalk as they do a snooze.

Halfway through Sleepwalking there is an attractively staged motel scene in which a girl lies poolside, oversized pink sunglasses and all. It is the film's most artful moment. It also isn't this film's to have, considering the iconic impact is on loan from that Stanley Kubrick Lolita sequence. The object of our gaze is Tara (AnnaSophia Robb), who, abandoned by Bad Movie Mother Joleen (Charlize Theron), sets out to find her father. So far, so straight road movie. Theron - one of the more maverick actresses of her generation - reteams with her fellow producers on 2003's Oscar-procuring Monster to perform double duty here. Her screen time is, in fact, limited. Once she takes off into the night 20 minutes in - taking her white-trash toughness imported from the far superior North Country with her - the film becomes just another zombie succession of soul searching, bifurcated framing, and moody indie soundscapes on the road well-travelled. Not even the wince-inducing injection of Dennis Hopper's patriarch can save the bizarre final act, what with his penchant for barking at young girls to mop up horse muck. It's a shame. The efforts of everyone involved don't even so much amount to a sleepwalk as they do a snooze.