Every so often a film will come along that can be truly classified as unique and Bruce McDonald’s (Pontypool) latest feature can proudly sit in this category. Like a glass of smooth whiskey, Dreamland scintillates the senses and warms the cockles as it seeps into the bloodstream. As expected from its name, McDonald provides a narrative that draws you in deep and hypnotises you into a state of transcendence.
At its heart, Dreamland is a hitman with a heart movie, but what makes it stand apart is how the storyline transfuses Eastern European mythology with a Far-East culture and spiritualism. This injected with a cool jazz music that would make Martin Scorsese swoon, we are carried through a journey where the audience can drift along with relative ease knowing that we are in the safe hands of a more than accomplished director.
It’s not just about style though, as the substance is grounded by some heavy-hitting performances from Henry Rollins, Juliette Lewis, and Stephen McHattie in his dual role of the afore-mentioned hitman, Johnny and jazz trumpeter The Maestro. McHattie is magnificent in his portrayal of both parts and adds weight to McDonald’s composition.
When hitman Johnny learns of children being smuggled and sold off to a collective group, he endeavours to free them of their torment and quit the business ahead of high-profile wedding. There is trouble ahead, but more than Johnny possibly bargained for as the wedding guests are from a vampiric bloodline, with the groom resembling Count Orlok, who has a blackened heart set on making one of the kidnapped young girls his blushing bride.
Dreamland is a simply glorious film that entices you into a beautiful world with a rich soul.
It is a mystical journey that sends the audience beyond the physical realm and transports you through a dark and disturbing land whilst surrounding you with an invisible ray of light to shepherd you to a sublime conclusion.
- Saul Muerte