Sleepers [Blu-Ray] Barry Levinson

Sleepers [Blu-Ray] Barry Levinson
Barry Levinson delivered one of the most controversial and shocking court case films, while examining deplorable issues such as brutality and sexual abuse towards children, with 1996's Sleepers. For the uninitiated, viewers will watch the film's bloated prologue about four childhood friends growing up in the '60s in NYC's notorious Hell's Kitchen neighbourhood and easily find comparisons to 1993's A Bronx Tale. However, when the boys get sent to a state juvenile detention facility, only to be consistently raped and beaten by the head guard (played chillingly by Kevin Bacon) and his posse, in high definition nonetheless, viewers may feel guilty about having a Blu-Ray transfer of the film in their collection. Sleepers delivers many strong performances from its A-list cast ― most notably, Robert De Niro's portrayal of street-smart priest Father Robert Carillo and Dustin Hoffman's slimy, yet comical, role as the alcoholic prosecutor stand out the most. The film plays out strongly in the disturbing first half, however it loses steam and accountability during the overstuffed second and third acts when it morphs into an implausible legal thriller that garners as many yawns as unintentional laughs, especially when it comes to John Williams' violin-driven score. As far as Blu-Ray transfers go, the film features a grim palette of blacks and greys that stand out stunningly in the first half, making it a far more favourable watch than the original's double-sided standard DVD issued years ago. In spite of the fact the Blu-Ray isn't equipped with any special features or commentary whatsoever, it's still an amazing upgrade from the original VHS and DVD. Sleepers is definitely not a feel-good watch, yet lending this Blu-Ray to your unknowing friends who are only attracted to the ensemble A-list cast on the front cover is guaranteed to induce a few inappropriate chuckles. (Warner)