Crimes of Passion: Sleepwalker (1997)

Hilary Swank in Crimes of Passion: Sleepwalker (aka: The Sleepwalker Killing)

Sleepwalking Through a Movie

One night a blooded and shaken Mark Schall (Charles Esten) walks into a police station to hand himself in as he thinks he has killed someone. That someone is his mother-in-law whilst his father-in-law is also seriously injured but he can't remember doing it and thinks he must have been sleepwalking. It leaves his wife Lauren (Hilary Swank) in a dilemma, does she support her husband who she doesn't believe could have done it or does she side with her siblings. Hopefully detective Lloyd Boyko (Jeffrey Nordling) can make sense of this unusual murder case.

I am at a loss for words when it comes to "Crimes of Passion: Sleepwalker" also known as "The Sleepwalker Killing" because it has some good bits and some terrible bits and it swings so wildly between good and bad it leaves you lost for words. Now one of those good things is the idea of Mark murdering his mother-in-law but can't remember doing it as he was sleepwalking. It sounds ridiculous but at the same time is the sort of thing which you occasionally find appearing in the press as in a case a year or two back about a man claiming he was sleepwalking when he raped a woman. As such despite sounding ridiculous it is interesting because you wonder how anyone can prove or disprove Mark's claims of sleepwalking.

Jeffrey Nordling in Crimes of Passion: Sleepwalker (aka: The Sleepwalker Killing)

Now on the subject of good there is also the performance from Hilary Swank who delivers a calm, rational characterisation which works despite having some unrealistic lines to say. But Swank's performance sticks out as the rest of the performances are no where near as good and in some cases quite laughable. It's hard because I like Jeffrey Nordling as an actor and in easy going movies he works fine but he fails to convince here as a tough detective as often he comes across as clueless and ridiculous.

But there is also the direction and whilst John Cosgrove paces the movie nicely the constant use of close ups ends up becoming incredibly annoying. Of course we are talking TV movie here so we are also talking about quickly made on a modest budget but the camera work is ordinary and the whole thing lacks atmosphere.

What this all boils down to is that "Crimes of Passion: Sleepwalker" is an interesting but heavily flawed movie which keeps you watching partly because of the curious story but also because of it starring Hilary Swank.