Dreamland (2019) Review – A Ghost Out Of Time


Dreamland makes an effort to bring forth a serious proposition where it wants its audience to entertain an idea bigger than a mere individual. It makes an effort to talk about a kind of clairvoyance that distinguishes itself from prudence and reasoning. It elucidates the debatable topic of social institutions working in unison against the underdogs and underprivileged of our society. It talks about the immortality of thoughts and their key role in keeping a human spirit alive. The film’s foundation is laid on a thin fabric that believes in the metaphysical characteristic of a human mind. An inevitable comparison of Dreamland could be made to the 1973 epic crime drama “Badlands”, directed by Terence Malick, who is known for exploring the transcendental attributes through his narratives and characters. The narrative involving two fugitives on the run, exploring the Texas highway as they leave for Mexico, in search of a life that they have always dreamt of, brings a stark resemblance to Malick’s film that fantasized an outlaw in the American society and made use of spiritual overtones.

Dreamland has been directed by Miles Joris Peyrafitte and written by Nicholaas Zwart. The film stars the extremely watchable and thoroughly entertaining Margot Robbie, Finn Cole, Travis Fimmel and Darby Camp among others.

The Premise

Eugene Evans lives with his mother Olivia Evans and stepfather George Evans. He has a warm and affable relationship with his little stepsister Phoebe. This adorable girl often understands the impulse of a youthful Eugene, his passions and his motivations. The family is under huge debt and there is a lack of jobs in the whole town. Eugene sees the bounty on a pernicious and deadly criminal as an opportunity. An opportunity to earn easy money and relieve his family from the debt. The criminal is a fabled woman named Allison Wells. One might call it fate or merely coincidence that Alison and Eugene meet. He is not able to turn her over to the police authority. There was something that stopped him from doing so. He wanted to believe in the earnestness of the charming and vivacious Alison. He had his doubts but he didn’t want to unravel them. He wanted those doubts to be a mere figment of his imagination. In the process, Eugene realizes that he has to pick his own burden. It was about time he found his father, who had left their family when he was too young to understand the presence of a string spiritual realm that extended its arms beyond the three-dimensional world. His father’s absence had haunted him throughout his life. But he was unable to break loose till now. The coming of Alison triggered a long lost feeling of quiddity and association. Eugene never really realizes when he became attached to this hardened criminal. But he does become emotionally involved so much so that he is ready to take that leap of faith. In her eyes, he sees the world he had always dreamt of. Till now it felt like a distant reality but now it seemed within the realms of possibility.

A Lost Potential

It is surprising how even a one-hour thirty-minute drama can feel irksome and dull at times. The length of the film might seem tight but the number of events is few and elongated. These elongated events break the momentum of the film when it is reaching its pinnacle. There is an unwanted break of thought that releases your attention such that it never really is captured back again. In an effort to emancipate the human spirit from the social ties, the film loses it’s held over what could have been a tightly knit narrative.
A particular shower scene just breaks the rhythm and lacks the impulse and velocity required at that particular moment. Personally, i am all for those scenes which evolve and brew slowly, but only if it is able to absorb all the potential emotions and most importantly is able to reach the audience with its essence intact.

Margot Robbie shows yet again that apart from being a great actor, she can also be that star force behind those mega-projects. She can be that crowd-puller while maintaining the sanctity of the art. She appeals to a student of cinema as much as she would to a person just watching for the sake of entertainment. She soaks into her character which remains amorphous in nature to a large extent.

Dreamland isn’t a great film but it is worth a watch especially for it’s 1930’s set design, and augmenting and ardent background score and a delightful Margot Robbie.

Dreamland is available for Video on Demand.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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