D: Barry Levinson
Warner Bros./Propaganda/Baltimore (Steve Golin & Barry Levinson)
US 1996
147 mins


W: Barry Levinson [based on the book by Lorenzo Carcaterra]
DP: Michael Ballhaus
Ed: Stu Linder
Mus: John Williams 
PD: Kristi Zea

Kevin Bacon (Sean Nokes), Billy Crudup (Tommy), Robert DeNiro (Father Bobby), Minnie Driver (Carol), Dustin Hoffman (Danny Snyder), Jason Patric (Shakes), Brad Pitt (Michael)

Sleepers is very much a story of three acts, the first filmed in the style of a 1930's gangster film and the final part as a courtroom drama. The second act is where the plot is moulded into its shape, as a group of friends use the help of a respected priest and a high-standing lawyer to get away with the murder of a pederastic prison guard who molested them while they were incarcerated for accidental manslaughter.
There's shades of Once Upon A Time In America (qv) in the execution, using meticulous period design and photography to capture the crime-ridden Hell's Kitchen part of New York during the 1960's.
A solid adaptation of Lorenzo Carcaterra's book, with good performances from the ensemble, though its claims to be based on a true story seem a little dramatised and sensationalistic.