By Zack Haddad | March 15, 2008

Broken homes make for good drama, so it’s a given that an indie film with a star-studded cast would come along to deal with this type of subject matter. It’s only a shame that this film’s star-studded cast wasn’t able to save the mediocre storyline.

Joleen Reedy (Charlize Theron) has the rug swept out from under her when her boyfriend is arrested and she needs to find a place for her and her 11-year-old daughter, Tara (Anna Sophia Robb). She turns to her brother James (Nick Stahl) to help her out. That is until she vanishes one day and Tara and James decide to set out on the road to find somewhere safe.

On a personal pet peeve note, I am sick of seeing indie films where a young actress smokes cigarettes. I really didn’t see the point in having Tara smoke. If it was justified, maybe then it would be fine. But there was no reason in this particular film and feels like a cliché. I also really didn’t like Robb’s performance in general.

Speaking of characters, performances and their place in the plot, I just don’t understand where the logic is in everything that James does. At least James changes in character at the end, which is nice to see someone with an arc in this film, but no one else does. I liked both Stahl and Dennis Hopper in this film, and Theron also wasn’t that bad, but I didn’t understand why her character disappeared. If she really cared about her daughter, why would she do that? Too many unanswered questions, too many vague scenarios, too little pay-off.

On the plus side, the cinematography was well-done and I felt it gave a great view into this broken world (if anyone should want a great view). Also, for a directorial debut, William Maher did a pretty decent job (as in, performances weren’t horrendous but the plot wasn’t sound so… who do we blame for that?)

I very much wanted to like “Sleepwalking.” Between the cast and cinematography, it seemed like any easy home run, yet the visible plot holes and slow-paced script really bog this film down.

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