: : : In Dreams

Story

Anyone who has seen and loved Neil Jordan's The Company of Wolves should feel right at home in his off-beat psychological thriller In Dreams. A sexy, very adult take on "Little Red Riding Hood," Wolves unreeled as a series of surreal "fairy tales" interwoven within the heated dreams of a young girl verging on womanhood. Wolves' patron saints were Freud and Jung (as sifted through Jordan's wickedly fertile imagination), and the duo are very much aboard for In Dreams as well. Here's a movie that takes place entirely in dreamtime, where the dark, violent fantasies of Claire Cooper (Annette Bening)--wife, mother, and illustrator of children's books--play out unpoliced by superego, conscience, or society. On the face of it, Claire's a clairvoyant whose mind becomes more and more possessed by child-killer Vivian Thompson (Robert Downey Jr.). Cops and shrinks refuse to take her seriously until she loses her own daughter and much, much more. Tapping into weird images of her soulmate's childhood, when he was abused by a hateful mother in a house now submerged in a nearby reservoir, Claire comes closer and closer to her gender-shifting bad boy (and his latest victim). From start to finish, In Dreams dwells in hyperreality. Whether leeched of or drenched in color, slipping eerily through an underwater world, rushing madly toward catastrophe--every hallucinatory shot is saturated with menace. It's the kind of potent, unresolved menace that haunts your waking day after a particularly unsettling nightmare. Watch this gorgeous film as therapeutic (?) theater inside Claire's mind, where she and her murderous doppelganger act out a terrible Oedipal drama driven by sex and jealousy. Bening and Downey deliver superb, risky performances, and Darius Khondji's cinematography, with almost every frame punctuated by blood-reds, is sensuously dreamlike. In Dreams is one of those great, flawed films that reaches for more than it ultimately achieves. But what a welcome change from the dullness and shallowness of the formulaic sure things that dominate movie screens as the 20th century draws to a close. --Kathleen Murphy

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Widescreen
  • Dolby

Cast

Annette BeningClaire Cooper
Katie SagonaRebecca Cooper
Aidan QuinnPaul Cooper
Robert Downey Jr.Vivian Thompson
Paul GuilfoyleDetective Jack Kay
Stephen ReaDoctor Silverman
Margo MartindaleNurse Floyd

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