“Long Time, No Sleep” (“Hace mucho que no duermo”)


Screened at the 40th Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival (1/5); Letterboxd (1/5), Imdb.com (2/10), TMDB.com (2/10) 

It’s true what they say about not being able to judge a book by its cover – or a movie by its trailer or description. Such is the case with writer-director Agustín Godoy’s debut feature, a trainwreck of a film that makes virtually no sense from start to finish. As a sort of screwball comedy (a term I use loosely) in which multiple characters are trying to get their hands on a mysterious locked backpack, the film follows them as they relentlessly pursue one another throughout the neighborhoods of Buenos Aires in a race to get the goods. In some ways, it loosely follows the narrative format of comedy classics like “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” (1963) or “What’s Up, Doc?” (1972) only with a lot less skill (or humor, for that matter). Its plot line features a collection of disjointed elements that feel like they were dumped into a spaghetti bowl and thrown against the wall to see what would stick (most of which doesn’t). Carrying the story are an equally mismatched assemblage of characters, including an insomniac office worker (hence the title, I suppose) who frequently and inexplicably begins speaking in rhyme, a quirky Tarot card reader who doubles as a security guard when not cluelessly following her impulses, a band of inept mob mules and a mysterious woman simply known as the Duchess who appears to be the intended recipient of the backpack. In telling this story, however, the movie is all over the map with plot developments, most of which don’t relate to one another and are lazily connected by endless (and I do mean endless) sequences of characters running from one another throughout the streets, parks, landmarks and industrial areas of the city. I’ll admit that this makes for a rather comprehensive and nicely filmed travelogue about Buenos Aires, and it features a reasonably engaging, well-edited opening sequence, but that’s about all this woefully sorry effort has going for it. Under no conditions should you waste your precious time on this hot mess.