In Their Sleep (Dans ton sommeil) Review

Anne Parillaud stars in In Their Sleep, a violent French thriller released by Optimum.

Following the accidental death of her teenage son, Sarah (Anne Parillaud) lives alone, separated from her husband. One night, on her way home, she almost runs over a young man, Arthur (Arthur Dupont). Arthur is terrified and is covered in blood. He says he caught a burglar in the act. The man attacked him and is now after him wanting to kill him…

In Their Sleep (Dans ton sommeil which strictly speaking translates as In Your Sleep) is a debut feature for brother-and-sister writer/directors Caroline du Potet and Éric du Potet. On the surface a suspense thriller, it’s graphic enough so that the horror genre isn’t far away. It’s not hard to guess what’s really going on, even before the du Potets go into flashback.

This is a short film – for the most part a three-hander – but even so it seems padded out. We get a prologue – which enables Jean-Hugues Anglade to get a “participating” credit – in which Sarah witnesses her son’s death, a scene which doesn’t really pay off dramatically or thematically. The rest of the film would stand up just as well without it. There’s also a blatant fake-out sequence in the middle and a completely gratuitous crotch shot early on.

Without these indulgences, In Their Sleep would be a more effective film, cleverly constructed so that two flashback sequences from other characters’ points of view give us a different picture of events to the one we had, being in Sarah’s viewpoint for the most part. The moments of violence are well enough done, but this is in no way unmissable except for completists.

The disc: Optimum’s DVD is dual-layered and encoded for Region 2 only.

The DVD transfer is in the ratio of 2.40:1, anamorphically enhanced. Much of the film takes place at night, and even the more brightly lit scenes have a subdued palette. Shadow detail is fine and blacks are solid and grain is filmlike.

We have a choice of two soundtracks, both in the original French: Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Surround (2.0). In both cases the surrounds tend to be used for the music score and ambience with a few directional effects. The 5.1 track wins out for clarity, though there’s not much in it, and is mixed louder than the 2.0. English subtitles are optionally available.

The only extra is the theatrical trailer (1:37), which is 2.40:1 anamorphic. This trailer is of French origin and reveals once again how lenient that country’s censor is: you only have to be twelve to see In Your Sleep there, as opposed to eighteen here.


Updated: Mar 02, 2011

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