Brandon Bell (Alex MacNicoll) is a competitive wrestler in high school, and despite a troubled home life he has a good heart and sees the best in people. Then one day he meets Pearla, (Addison Timlin) and they start to get closer despite one of Brandon’s friends warning him to stay away because Pearla is trouble with a capital T.
However, Brandon can’t help himself and when he finds out that Pearla has an abusive boyfriend who’s involved in organised crime and that he’s Pearla’s pimp, Brandon sets about to keep her safe no matter the cost.
Sleeping in Plastic is a noir crime drama feature debut written and directed by Van Ditthavong which may tread some very familiar ground and goes down the roads that many noir crime dramas have gone down before.
The story may evoke other movies such as Blue Velvet and True Romance and deliberately so, luckily though for those who may have seen it all before, Ditthavong’s artistic eye and the great performances that he gets out of his cast are what may keep the audience watching.
MacNicoll and Timlin also have great chemistry and the audience will believe in their love story even if they may know where it goes, but there’s a sweetness and innocence between them that is brought out at just the right times.
Similarly, the supporting gangster characters are exactly what you expect, but thanks to some menacing performances (not to the levels of Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper, mind you), then the sense of danger is felt. Brandon and Pearla feel like a couple that the audience want to see make it through.
Beautifully shot, Sleeping in Plastic is a very stylish noir drama that is never too far from an atmospheric street light or a moodily lit bar and it makes the film all that more compelling as it feels so accomplished from a first-time feature director. Time will tell whether Ditthavong will be able to do movies in other genres just as well, but if he can evoke a cinematic look as much as he did to Sleeping in Plastic then he may be one to watch.
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