Friday, January 22, 2021

Paramount's Dreamland (2019) Blu Ray Review

Dreamland (2019) Paramount Pictures 1/19/2021

Directed By: Miles Joris-Peyrafitte 

Starring: Finn Cole, Margot Robbie, Travis Fimmel, Darby Condon 

Disclaimer: Paramount Pictures has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections. 

    2019's Dreamland is a movie that slipped well under my radar, as that year had some amazing films. And, honestly if it wasn't for Margot Robbie in the lead I might not have requested it at all. Set during America's Great Depression, a farm boy named Eugene (Finn Cole) life is changed forever when he meets an outlaw named Allison Wells (Margot Robbie). Instead of turning her in for the bounty, Eugene hides the fugitive with designs to help her flee to Mexico. Dreamland is a frustrating experience. It's frustrating because clearly there is a lot of great elements at play here, but shoddy execution. As for what works: For starters the movie is incredibly photographed. D.P Lyle Vincent who has done stellar work in films like A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), Thoroughbred (2016) and more recently HBO's Bad Education (2019). Vincent's visual scope is nothing short of magical as he paints a picture that is equal parts breathtaking, haunting and isolating. Couple this with a production design that is incredibly grounded in the time period and, it's easy to truly get swept away in the story. Margot Robbie is of course stellar and, as always breaths life into her character. Finn Cole is also good but, frankly isn't at her level. The film is also filled with a fantastic supporting cast. This is all great but my issue with this film is with the screenplay. This film marks Nicolaas Zwart first feature length script. And, while it's far from being terrible it has a host of problems. There is an attempt to flesh out characters but they still end up feeling strangely hallow. Furthermore, the movie doesn't really add anything new to the whole-outlaw/romance genre. This basically has the same beats that you might expect. I will say though, the movie does inject some tender/realistic moments that was a nice surprise. This movie is suppose to be part romance and, as hard as the filmmakers try I don't think that Finn and Robbie have on screen chemistry. It's not a commentary on either's performance, it's just there's no sparks. Dreamland is a movie that is ambitious but runs out of steam before it even got started. It has nothing new to say about it's themes on family, sex, violence and death and the fame of being an outlaw. But, I think you cannot deny that Robbie is truly one of the films saving grace. 

Picture: Dreamland was shot on digital and of course looks great when transferred over to 1080p. Lyle Vincent's brilliant photography really looks sharp, crisp and vivid in HD. Color levels are well maintained throughout. Details like clothing texture, sets, locales really stand out here. 

Sound: Dreamland sports a nice DTS 5.1 track. Dialogue comes through nicely as does the films sound design.  Overall it's a robust sound presentation which in my opinion was very solid. This isn't a movie that I think demands something like 7.1 as it's not as bombastic in it's sound effects etc. 

Extras: None 

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