Light Sleeper

LIGHT SLEEPER, Paul Schrader's study of a middle-aged drug dealer, is a return to the director's thematic roots, an exploration of the dark side of the American psyche. Loner, insomniac and reformed junkie, John LeTour (Willem Dafoe) delivers drugs for a living--coke and ecstasy and quaaludes ("white drugs for white people") for the upper-class clients...read more

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LIGHT SLEEPER, Paul Schrader's study of a middle-aged drug dealer, is a return to the director's thematic roots, an exploration of the dark side of the American psyche. Loner, insomniac and reformed junkie, John LeTour (Willem Dafoe) delivers drugs for a living--coke and ecstasy and

quaaludes ("white drugs for white people") for the upper-class clients of the glamorous Ann (Susan Sarandon), and writes in his diary during his sleepless off hours. One evening, he spots his old girlfriend, Marianne (Dana Delaney), and gives her a lift, but she clearly wants nothing to do with

him; she's clean and doesn't trust that he is. After another accidental meeting, this time at the hospital where her mother is dying, they briefly resume their troubled affair. His shock when she apparently jumps from the window of one of his clients drives LeTour to a near-fatal encounter with

the man.

LIGHT SLEEPER may well be Schrader's best film, the melancholy continuation of a story that begins with TAXI DRIVER (which Schrader scripted) and the much-maligned AMERICAN GIGOLO. Superficially, maladjusted hack Travis Bickle, sleek hustler Julian Kay, and detached dealer John LeTour couldn't be

more different, but they're brothers under the skin. Where TAXI DRIVER was all grit and fury and AMERICAN GIGOLO's glossy surface barely hid a core of hollow desperation, LIGHT SLEEPER has the texture of a dream. Not a nightmare, but a comfortable, familiar dream; while the movie purports to be

about someone who can't sleep, it's actually about someone who won't wake up, and it's not hard to sympathize with his reluctance. Willem Dafoe's performance as LeTour is the glue that holds the film together, and it's a remarkable one.

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  • Released: 1992
  • Rating: R
  • Review: LIGHT SLEEPER, Paul Schrader's study of a middle-aged drug dealer, is a return to the director's thematic roots, an exploration of the dark side of the American psyche. Loner, insomniac and reformed junkie, John LeTour (Willem Dafoe) delivers drugs for a l… (more)

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