The Sleepwalker Film Review

January 20, 2014 : 11:15 pm | by Lexy Ford

Gitte Witt and Stephanie Ellis in The Sleepwalker

Gitte Witt and Stephanie Ellis in The Sleepwalker

If you’re looking for a suspenseful mystery this year at Sundance, I have found just the film for you! The Sleepwalker directed by Mona Fastvold had the audience on the edge of their seats the whole way through. The film opens to a woman named Kaia coming home to her boyfriend, Andrew, who is renovating the house that Kaia had grown up in. Later that night, Kaia receives a phone-call from her sister (Chris) whom she had not spoken with for a long time due to some mysterious event that had happened many years ago. The sister asks for Kaia to pick her up from the train station because she desperately needs a place to stay. The following day Chris’s boyfriend arrives and the two ask to stay at Kaia’s place for a while. The two couples awkwardly get acquainted and from here on out the suspense continues climbing as the audience gets more intimate with the past of the two sisters and their deceased father. It is soon revealed that Chris sleepwalks at night and one night she goes missing which seems to trigger a change in each of the characters for the remainder of the movie. After sleepless nights, and a brutal fight the film leaves the audience with a million unanswered questions and a rush of frustration. We are left to figure out on our own where Chris may have gone and what had happened between the sisters in their past.

One of the many wonderful parts about catching these films at the Sundance Film Festival is the question and answer session following the movie. For The Sleepwalker, the entire cast as well as the director and cinematographer were at the theater for questioning. One of the questions from the audience asked if someone could explain the last five minutes of the movie. The audience, cast, and crew began laughing at this and the first response from the director was a simple “no”. The actor who played Chris’s boyfriend, Brady Corbet, added on to the director’s response by explaining how this wasn’t meant to be a typical film. Corbet says that “it’s sad when everything is spoon-fed or all wrapped up” and that a film should “never die when the credits start rolling”. I found this to be essential to the idea of independent film in the sense that indie films often leave some of the work up to the viewer and don’t let the audience get away with passively watching a movie. Corbet made a great point by saying that the story will linger and live on due to its unclear ending. I would certainly advise seeing this film if you’re able to score a ticket. I’m still racking my brain four hours after the film to try and figure out what happened!

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