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The Sleeping Dictionary

Still of Hugh Dancy in The Sleeping DictionaryStill of Jessica Alba and Hugh Dancy in The Sleeping DictionaryStill of Hugh Dancy in The Sleeping DictionaryStill of Noah Taylor in The Sleeping DictionaryStill of Jessica Alba and Hugh Dancy in The Sleeping DictionaryStill of Emily Mortimer in The Sleeping Dictionary

Plot

An eager young Englishman is dispatched to Sarawak to become part of the British colonial government…

Release Year: 2003

Rating: 6.6/10 (4,379 voted)

Director:
Guy Jenkin

Stars: Jessica Alba, Brenda Blethyn, Hugh Dancy

Storyline
An eager young Englishman is dispatched to Sarawak to become part of the British colonial government, encounters some unorthodox local traditions, and finds himself faced with tough decisions of the heart involving the beautiful young Selima, the unwitting object of his affections.

Cast:

Jessica Alba

Selima


Brenda Blethyn

Aggie


Hugh Dancy

John Truscott


Bob Hoskins

Henry


Christopher Ling Lee Ian

Jasmine


Junix Inocian

Famous


Michael Jessing Langgi

Melaka


Mano Maniam

Policeman


K.K. Moggie

Tipong


Emily Mortimer

Cecil


Cicilia Anak Richard

Jester Woman


Malcolm Rogers

Vicar


Eugene Salleh

Belansai


Noah Taylor

Neville


Kate Helen White

Mandar

Taglines:
Learn to speak her language.



Details

Official Website:
Fine Line Features Article |

Release Date: 31 January 2003

Filming Locations: Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia



Box Office Details

Budget: $12,000,000

(estimated)



Technical Specs

Runtime:



Did You Know?

Trivia:

The film used more than 600 Iban extras.

Goofs:

Continuity:
When Selima and Truscott are given the turquoise bracelets, she takes Truscott's off and wears it. In the next shot, she gives him hers but she's still holding his.

Quotes:

John Truscott:
[Post-sex]
I'm sorry that was too quick wasn't it?

Selima:
You teach me English, I teach you this.



User Review

Not quite enough to be enough

Rating: 7/10

The Sleeping Dictionary should be noted mostly for being the biggest
missed
opportunity of shooting star Jessica Alba. This film was her only film
project
between the first and second seasons of "Dark Angel,' the show that turned
her
into a sensation, but quickly died a network death at the end of season 2,
and
thus ending the heat index on the lovely Miss Alba. The tragedy is this
film, a
good showcase of her and her abilities (rather than just her), was
inexplicably
delayed, pushed off and kept from theater screens, only to be released
direct-to
video far too long after her star dimmed.

As with any product here, you can get the synopsis elsewhere, so don't
look
for
it here. I'll try not to spoil anything, but take note if you read this,
then watch the
movie, you may get tipped off as to what I'm vaguely referencing. If that
bothers
you, come back after you watch!

This is a film that had a good idea, and good execution of what the idea
turned
into. Unfortunately, a little bit more planning would have helped. At 109
minutes,
this film won't bore you, but it could have been rightfully intriguing
with
20-30
minutes of good plot added.

The film is carried on the sound filmmaking and charm of it's actors. In
particular,
Alba is enchanting. She plays the part with the seriousness it was
intended,
and
never lets her intentionally accented English fall into 'stupid foreigner'
stereotype, a tough job for many young actors and actresses who have
attempted the same. Her partner, Hugh Dancy, is good enough. He channels
a
little bit like a scrawny Heath Ledger, but never quite gets rugged
enough.

The other joy of the cast is the ever-underrated Bob Hoskins. By
coincidence, I
saw 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' just hours before watching 'Sleeping
Dictionary,' and am never let down by his appearances in films. He plays
a
character who isn't written subtly enough; still, he acts it. The endless
looks of
"Damn bloody fool. Good for him, the w***er" scattered through the film
isn't
enough for a man of his caliber, but we'll take what we can
get.

Their performances are weaved together well by Writer/Director Guy Jenkin,
who is making his big screen debut as a director, though his writing
career
goes
back to the late '70's without much acclaim. Directing-wise, he knows what
he is
doing. The camera work is graceful and beautiful, and he compliments the
fantastic elements of the story well. As a writer, well, there are things
left to be
desired.

Most of all, this film seems too short. The story is predictable, but it
never drags.
The love scenes are contrived, as is the underdeveloped climax, but that's
not
where the film is weak. The characters are cleverly set up to be mirrors,
and the
overlapping triangles are so complex they rival those brainteasers that
ask
'how
many triangles are in this picture?' The problem is, the most important
one
is
never realized, because of the lack of development between Dancy and his
best
friend within the tribe. Without much difficulty, and a little more time,
that
relationship alone would have lifted this film from not quite enough to a
good, if
not better, movie.

As a result, you're left with a film that doesn't challenge anything
because
it just
challenges the same old things. But it is romantic, and has much more
spark
than many other movies you may see of this type. For that, and a young
actress
who has way too much fire to just disappear at this point of her career,
this film is
worth seeing.