Sometimes a good movie is more than the sum of its parts. In others, the sum of its parts results in… well, something like what happens to The country of dreams. An ambitious Netflix production with an interesting concept (although not especially new), a good budget, an unquestionable desire to please the family audience and some relevant names on its artistic record, starting with a director as valid as Francis Lawrence and a fashion star like Jason Momoa.
The problem with Slumberland, the original title of El País de los Sueños, is that precisely all that string of components seems to have been thrown against a wall, hoping that some will stick, without thinking about whether they were really suitable for the type of production. Where does that imponderable “sense of wonder” reside, simply magic, that other minor productions possess and this one rather does not?
To Lawrence (Constantine, Water for Elephantsthe aftermath of The Hunger Games) it is impossible for him to find the tone between the elastic madness of a cartoon and the emotion that a Robert Zemeckis would bring, something he is looking for and the film desperately asks for. And Jason Momoa drags himself through the film imitating the antics of Johnny Depp in a role that the star of Pirates of the Caribbean I would have embroidered without difficulty.
The country of dreams It’s not a bad movie for that. Lawrence understands the Freudian hook of a story that moves between reality and dream, and that has a plot twist halfway through that, no less predictable, continues to improve things until it reaches an effective outcome. , where the film finally gains specific weight. Meanwhile, the one who really calls the shots in the film is Chris O’Dowd, a supporting actor who is simply terrific here and really suits the source material, and who along with the girl Marlow Barkley provides some moments of passable poetry. . The whole film talks about the need for ambivalence, to balance two lives: the conscious and the unconscious, wakefulness and sleep, reality and aspirations. But it’s not particularly successful in its visual substance, save for its excellent prologue (and despite Lawrence’s obvious talent, shooting half the film in wide angle and low angle), with not particularly interesting visual effects and wacky humor that doesn’t quite work. The result is an uneven, valid and substantial film, but in reality very unsuccessful in its “zemeckism”.
Dreamland premieres on Netflix on Friday, November 18.
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Criticism: ‘The Country of Dreams’ (Slumberland), from Netflix, with Jason Momoa