Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Dreamscape; science-fiction thriller, USA, 1984; D: Joseph Ruben, S: Dennis Quaid, Max von Sydow, David Patrick Kelly, Christopher Plummer, Kate Capshaw, Eddie Albert

Outsider Alex Gardener has psychic abilities and is thus drafted to a top secret project led by his former researcher, Dr. Novotny. In the laboratory, Alex is able to enter the dreams of another person, almost as a protector, which Dr. Novotny thinks will help people who suffer from nightmares but cannot remember what they were dreaming. However, Dr. Novotny is murdered and the project is "kidnapped" by secret government agent Blair who intends to kill the US president in his sleep, thanks to another psychic, Tommy. Still, Alex manages to enter into the president's nightmare, too, and kill Alex. He then also kills Blair and runs away.

Despite numerous flaws and omissions, Joseph Ruben's fantasy thriller "Dreamscape" is one of the few movies that managed to conjure up a good depiction of 'lucid dreaming': the cinematography is again "too neat" and "too clear" for those (movie) dream sequences, which are suppose to be unreal, but overall some clever tricks - fast motion of clouds in the background on the skyscraper sequence; fish eye lens; distorted proportions of the doors and walls; random things suddenly appearing - managed to give a satisfying illusion of it. Dennis Quaid and Max von Sydow deliver the best performances, while Christopher Plummer is slightly underused in the story as the main bad guy, even though his plan of using the dream entering project as a secret weapon is probably the most intriguing premise in the storyline, matched only by the project's initial purpose, of having the hero be some sort of a "counsellor" or "protector" in a nightmare. The 'de-tour' of the movie into a paranoia thriller was uneven and inconsistent, at least one scene is ethically questionable (having an underage kid take an axe and chop off the head of a 'cobra-man' to get rid of him in a nightmare) whereas the mood is mild, failing to exploit all the potentials, whereas some even attacked the misleading Indiana Jones style poster, yet "Dreamscape" does not go overboard with the premise, never breaking the (movie) rules it sets up itself for such a premise and never turning it into an excess, whereas some moments are fairly well conceived (the chase sequence on the horse racing track, not without irony).


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