Many actors nowadays are setting up their own production companies. They want the power. The power to tell the stories they want to. To be part of the decision makers when it comes to deciding what comes to the big or small screens. As such previously underrepresented portions of the population have started to make appearances.
Here Margot Robbie’s production company, LuckyChap Entertainment, has followed up its successful and Oscar winning I,Tonya with another American tale, Dreamland. This time it is a coming of age story about a young man whose family is dealing with the effects of the Great Depression while he is looking for a way out, it comes in rather odd way.
Living with his family in the very rural Texas during the Great Depression, Eugene Evans (Finn Cole – from television’s Animal Kingdom) dreams of somewhere else. Being anywhere else. He escapes by reading detective comics and talking about leaving with his friend Jo (Stephen Dinh – Believe Me). He wants a bigger life.
Excitement comes his way in a strange way. A on the run from the authorities, female bank robber and killer is said to be heading their way. A big reward is offered for her capture. Eugene dreams of the money and being a fan of the detective comics plots with Jo on how to capture her.
He does not really have to come up with a plan as he stumbles upon the criminal in his family’s abandoned barn. Allison Wells (Margot Robbie – Suicide Squad, Bombshell) has been shot and is weak. Eugene is faced with a big decision – turn her in for the money or help her get away. Growing up time for this young man.
The cinematography of this film is certainly its strongest point. More than ably bringing to life the dusty milieu of this part of Texas during the 1930s, the expanse of the vistas as well as Margot Robbie’s blue eyes, cinematographer Lyle Vincent (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Daniel Isn’t Real) is the surprising star. I say that because there is some star power in the cast with Robbie, Finn Cole, a short turn by Garrett Hedlund, and Travis Fimmel. Still what you walk away from the film is how good it looked.
It is a rather difficult film to figure out. Despite its rather straightforward story. Director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte (As You Are) tries to instill plenty. Definitely a Terrence Malick style of constructing a film. The result is rather hit and miss with some of his flourishes adding while others just being confusing or excessive.
Several of the performances are highly watchable. Robbie once again demonstrates herself to be more than just a pretty face. Though plenty of her character’s raison d’etre is her beauty. A woman able to get away with things because men underestimate her due to her looks. Though that is not all she is here. She is not just window dressing. Bringing to life a character who is not really likable though we do end up feeling sorry for her and don’t necessarily want her punished. Here’s to hoping that Robbie continues keeping us guessing with her film choices.
Another strong performance comes from young Finn Cole. Just 25-years-old, he is at the beginning of his career. Though his IMDB list is rather short he has managed to impress in Peaky Blinders and Animal Kingdom as well as this film. Here he perfectly brings to life a young man on the verge of adulthood. Shows you can still be young one moment and rather mature the next.