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A lonely kid in a 1930s Texas dustbowl town dreams of adventure. Then it all comes to life when a fugitive bank robber, badly wounded, shows up and hides out in the family barn. But this film switches the gender assumptions: the criminal is a woman, Allison Wells, played by the movie’s producer-star Margot Robbie, and her teenage protector is a boy: Eugene Evans, played by Finn Cole – and soon they’re hatching plans together, lovestruck Eugene having been assured by the wide-eyed Allison that the much-publicised death of an innocent bystanderarising from her last robbery was due to crossfire from the police.
This is an interesting twist on the Bonnie and Clyde template from screenwriting newcomer Nicolaas Zwart and director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, who was an award-winner at Sundance last year with his debut feature As You Are. Eugene himself is unhappy and alienated because, when he was a kid, his dad abandoned the family to chase his dreams in the supposed paradise of Mexico, a land of mistily imagined golden beaches. Maybe Eugene has inherited that wayward outlaw gene. Meanwhile, his glowering stepdad George (Travis Fimmel) is a deputy sheriff who is, of course, committed to bringing down Allison and her accomplices, maybe with a posse who can share with him the cash bounty to which he might not otherwise be entitled.
Dreamland is no masterpiece but it is a robustly made action drama, with impressive and even daring visual sequences when Eugene and Allison have to rob a bank. The ensuing chaos meshes with Eugene’s hallucinatory vision of what their future life in Mexico will be like. Interesting work from cinematographer Lyle Vincent, who also shot Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.
• Dreamland is in cinemas from 11 December.
Source: The Guardian
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