22 days ago

Russell Crowe yet to find success since 2022 with 'Sleeping Dogs'

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Russell Crowe has failed to maximise his acting potential since 2022. His roles as Zeus in Thor: Love and Thunder, Father Gabriele Amorth in The Pope's Exorcist, and Captain Eddie Grim in Land of Bad were all received poorly. He lacked the acting charm evident in Gladiator and The Beautiful Mind to fit the plot of the aforementioned films. 

Crowe is back in acting for the second time this year with Sleeping Dogs, where the protagonist's character development is similar to Michael Keaton's recent flick, Knox Goes Away.

Directed by Adam Cooper, Sleeping Dogs shows the potential to be a noir film like Memento, with memory, perception, and a complex storyline intertwined. 

Crowe takes on the role of retired officer Roy Freeman, who struggles with memory as he embarks on a journey reminiscent of a previous investigation. As the plot progresses, intrigue and uncertainty obscure the truth, forcing audiences to question reality.

Adapted from E.O. Chirovici's novel The Book of MirrorsSleeping Dogs transports viewers into Freeman's head, where notes scattered around his house are weak connections to a rapidly disappearing memory. With brain surgery and experimental treatments by his side, Freeman navigates a maze of lost clues, forced to revive a decade-old case concerning the alleged murder of Dr. Joseph Wieder. 

As Freeman struggles with his failing mental abilities, the upcoming execution of Isaac Samuel, a convicted felon seeking exoneration, adds urgency to his search for the truth.

The film's plot develops across a complex web of perspectives, blurring the distinctions between past and present, reality and fantasy. Freeman's work with old colleague Jimmy Remis provides light on the case's murky depths, and the discovery of Richard Finn's unpublished manuscript reveals a labyrinth of deception and desire. 

Karen Gillan's portrayal of Laura Baines, who is involved in a web of mystery, gives depth to the growing story by blurring the lines between memory and manipulation.

Despite the convoluted network of plotlines, Sleeping Dogs struggles to establish its foundations. Cooper's honest attempt to investigate topics of memory and subjectivity frequently jumps into complexity, leaving viewers looking for clarification. While Crowe's portrayal of Freeman develops a sense of seriousness, it's insufficient to save a story bogged down by its own ambition.

Nevertheless, Sleeping Dogs comes to a disappointing end. What could have been an intriguing investigation of memory and perception instead spirals into a jumble of disconnected plot threads and wasted opportunities. 

Despite the damages, Crowe's performance seems optimistic, reminding audiences of the actor he once was and still can be. Only time can tell whether Sleeping Dogs becomes the beginning of a new chapter in Crowe's career or is merely a footnote.

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