Review: ‘No One Sleeps’

Film Sales, Cologne, Germany.) Produced by Jochen Hick.

Film Sales, Cologne, Germany.) Produced by Jochen Hick.

Directed, written by Jochen Hick. Camera (color), Thomas M. Harting, Michael Maley; editor, Helga Scharf; art director, Craig Copher; set designer, Bernard Homann; music, James Hardway. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama), Feb. 16, 2000. (In Cannes Film Festival — market.) Running time: 108 MIN.

With: Tom Wlaschiha, Irit Levi, Jim Thalman, Richard Thalman, Richard Conti, Kalene Parker, Charles Shaw Robinson.

(English dialogue)

Offering a gay-skewing twist on traditional paranoid-thriller plot mechanics, Jochen Hick’s “No One Sleeps” emerges as sufficiently offbeat to cinch wide fest exposure and limited theatrical release. German-financed, English-lingo pic is unevenly paced, acted and scripted, but sustains interest with an arresting premise: Could the AIDS epidemic be an inadvertent result of Pentagon-sponsored biological-warfare experiments?

Stefan (Tom Wlaschiha), a gay medical student from Berlin, visits San Francisco to follow up on his late father’s theories about the origins of AIDS. Searching for informants, he wanders through the city’s seedy underbelly of sex clubs and rough-trade hangouts. Stefan doesn’t exactly conduct himself with scientific detachment. In fact, he enjoys several close encounters with Jeffrey (Jim Thalman), an enigmatic hunk who may know something about scientific testing on prison inmates. Unfortunately, Jeffrey may also know something about a serial killer who’s preying on HIV-positive long-term survivors. Pic’s best performance comes from Irit Levi, a diminutive, matronly actress who’s effectively cast against physical type as a hard-boiled homicide investigator. Tech values are unremarkable.

No One Sleeps

(GERMANY)

Production

A Galeria Alaska Prods. production in association with Hamburger Filmforderung, Medien-und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Wurttemberg, Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen and WDR/Arte. (International Sales: Media Luna Intl.
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