Available on digital download from the 18th of November is ‘State Like Sleep’, a drama which has a quality of melting into the background, like a forgettable dream. The likes of Katherine Waterston and Luke Evans prevent the movie from being a true slumber-fest but you cannot help feel as if you’re in a sleep-like state after watching this.
After the death of her Belgian actor-husband Stefan (Michiel Huisman), Katherine (Waterston) has the troubles of an ailing mother and secrets of her partner’s past to cope with, which sees her discovering a club owned by Emile (Evans), an apparent friend of Stefan’s.
At first, this is a film that had the potential to be an intoxicating thriller. The set-up of a gun-shot death and a widow uncovering truths of a difficult marriage are swiftly lost in the place of dialogue-heavy scenes which do little to spark the imagination. On top of this is the laden drama of it all, there seems to be a mellow nature to the procedure of Katherine going from place to place and person to person.
In some strange way, the vibe of this film was very Terence Malick. You cannot deny the beauty of her Katherine’s sadness; there is a fairly watchable intrigue to her melancholy, but like many Malick films it’s hard to fully care for it. There’s a distinct lack of connection to be had watching this and nothing about the bland truths revealed in the final ten minutes will pull you out of the semi-coma you’re in by that point.
Thankfully the talents of Waterston shine through; she’s a luminous actor etching pain, grief and resilience over the face of her character. A scene between herself and Luke Evans; which sees her heavily under the influence of drugs is a nice, mesmerising scene. Little flashbacks and talk-show clips demonstrate the charismatic appeal of Huisman and Michael Shannon is alright in the tiny role he’s given, it’s a shame he doesn’t have more to do.
‘State Like Sleep’ starts off with a literal bang but any hope of an interesting aftermath are lost in the place of yawn-some drama. There’s slow burning movies and then there’s this, which will have you nodding off before the halfway point.
Written by Troy Balmayer
STAR RATING –★★
Question: What is your favourite Katherine Waterston film?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
Thanks for reading this review and please let us know what you thought about the movie! Leave a comment below or drop us a tweet over at @HCMovieReviews.
Thanks to Strike Media for screening access