Updated: Sep 28, 2020
What do you get when a heroin loving trumpet player, a hit man, a crime boss, a countess and a vampire walk into a wedding? The strangest noir film of all time. However, this odd mashup might be part of the charm.
Director Bruce McDonald presents a visually stunning film. The viewer will be so wrapped up in scenes such as a bottle of red wine spilling onto the floor and seeing an assassin, Johnny (Stephen McHattie), reflected in it, as if signifying the blood he has spilled, that they will completely forget about the confusing narrative that lacks clear direction. Each scene has such stark eccentricity that it is void of rhyme or reason. Within the first few moments of the film, we are thrown into a dystopia. However, it seems as though that is McDonald’s plan.
The whole experience of the movie should put the viewer on edge. It comes with feelings of discomfort and confusion, making you wonder what exactly it is you’re watching. Ponder how you feel when you first see a vampire, closely resembling that of Nosferatu and played by Tomas Lemarquis, walk into an underground club by the name of Al Qaeda, which is run by a crime boss named Hercules, who has a sex trafficking ring of young girls. Then learn that these children are donated to a countess who just so happens to be the sister of the vampire, has promised him one of the children, and when you feel at your most uncomfortable he asks, “Where is my wife?” The feeling you get from reading that is one that remains present throughout the entirety of the film.
Dreamland holds a perpetual state of haze and grime that couples to create an unsettling thriller noir. Directorial choices such as Stephen McHattie playing the hit man, as well as the drugged up trumpet player that the hit man is set to take the pinky finger of, have no real explanation and don’t seem to add to the overall plot of the film. Rather, it seems to keep the audience guessing as the film lulls on in a state that is so muddled, the only explanation is given by Johnny, “We’re in a different world.”