1999; Rated R; 98 Minutes
Annette Bening: Claire Cooper
Aidan Quinn: Paul Cooper
Stephen Rea: Dr. Silverman
Robert Downey Jr.: Vivian Thomas
Katie Sagona: Rebecca Cooper
Produced by Redmond
Morris and Stephen Wooley; Directed by Neil Jordan;
Screenwritten by Bruce Robinson and Neil Jordan;
based on the novel "Doll's Eyes" by Bari Wood
by DAVID KEYES
problem with "In Dreams" is that is has too many good things
in it to make a great movie. There's the beautiful cinematography,
the good atmosphere, the convincing characters, the terrific
actors, the intriguing premise, and the shocking plot twists
all woven in. All these elements seem to be distracting
to the writers, as if they feel pressured to include all
of this inside one movie. Their thoughts become disorganized,
and they weave the script together without motivation or
effort. Nothing quite fits together, and half of the best
things about the movie seem so useless that they belong
to other movies.
instance, there's a fabulous sequence involving divers exploring
an underwater ghost town. The shots of objects intact and
the cathedral statues gracefully floating under a steeple
are splendid. It's the type of underwater atmosphere that
rivals "Alien Resurrection" and "The Abyss." But how does
all of this fit into the actual premise, in which Annette
Bening is haunted by a viscous killer in her dreams? Similar
things show up to great prevail in "In Dreams," but it's
all disconnected from reality. The movie is severely fragmented
and sometimes annoying. In ways, it plays like a dinner-party,
in which someone stands up and gets ready to propose a toast,
although he's not quite sure of what he will propose it
story involves Claire Cooper (Bening), whose life slowly
begins to twist and turn. Lately, nightmares accommodate
the stress of her husband's absence at home (he's a pilot
who is secretly having an affair with an Australian woman),
and she's slowly losing touch with reality.
common nightmare that she encounters involves what appears
to be a child running through an apple orchard, being kidnapped
by the hands of someone we do not see on screen. When Claire
realizes that she is dreaming about a sadistic killer, her
own daughter is kidnapped and found at the bottom of the
nearby lake. She has a psychic bond to this madman, but
no one believes her.
than the speed of light, she is thrown into a mental institution.
She escapes. She studies the killer (played effectively
by Robert Downey Jr.), and slowly witnesses reality shift.
Children's' swings move without a breeze. Garbage disposals
turn on and off by themselves. Computer screens fill up
with words that aren't being typed in with the keyboard.
We know that this killer has some kind of bond with Claire,
but the script never tells us how, or why, she is the one
who sees these things. Is there some prior relation that
we don't know about? Or is this just the average suvillian,
picked at random to project the killings through dreams?
incorporate as much movement in the script as possible,
the writers add chase scenes, gruesome deaths, more dream
sequences, the underwater ghost town, possession, and a
garbage disposal spewing apple juice to keep our minds engaged
and distracted from the scripts poor plot direction. These
people think that, in order to preoccupy our minds from
seeing write through the styrophoam-thin story, all of these
numerous (yet fascinating) elements will satisfy our needs.
I cannot tell you how many times in the theater I heard
"this is amazing," or "I love this movie." For some people
the distraction worked. For me, a die-hard fan of the serial
killer genre, I knew exactly what was going on.
thrilling and intriguing as some of the things seem, there
is always this displacement in whatever the script tries
to incorporate. Elements like the underwater city belong
to strong, wise scripts that can make use of them in every
possible effective way. Put them into a movie like "In Dreams,"
and it's only amusing aspect is the fact that it diverts
observation from the claustrophobic story structure.
1999, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.