Friday, October 28, 2011

Dream Lover, a Review

One of the best things about blogging is the community.  From my experience, most of the bloggers I've "met" are all friendly, professional, and bloody brilliant.  It seems that everyone is erudite and capable.  It's fun vicariously exploring different talents through the blogs of others, whether it's as a stay-at-home mom or an emigrant living in a haunted house somewhere in Scotland.  You get all kinds of differences, and that's half of the beauty of the blogosphere.  

In particular, I've mentioned fellow blogger Mattson Tomlin a time or two here on Rememorandom.  The lad (I can say that, as he's four years my junior) attends SUNY Purchase for Film (according to his IMDB page), where he's finishing up his junior or senior year, I can't recall which.  Anyway, I've been following Mattson for a few years now, and watching his films and ideas develop on his blog has been a real treat.  His posts often seem like "behind the scene" special features on DVDs, and when you watch this stuff prior to watching a film, it gives one a completely different feeling.

Mattson used a Kickstarter project to fund the short film called Dream Lover.  I kicked a buck, willing to support someone else's dreams, and then followed the many status updates Mattson posted intermittently.  Then, to my surprise, I received an email yesterday telling me that Dream Lover was up and available to watch.  So last night I lounged on the chaise, turned off the lights, put in earphones, and let the movie take me away.

To attempt to describe what Dream Lover is would be, in essence, like asking you to describe your dreams.  While that may sound simple enough, then throw in the challenge of not only describing, but also conveying your thoughts and feelings during your dreams.  Explain the why, the how.  Heck, sometimes even the who and where is beyond words.  This is a glimpse of Tomlin's 16-minute short, and I feel like the director/writer has done well in capturing a dream.  It's ethereal.  It's bizarre.  It's ever-changing.  There's horror, sex, death, and many other commonalities of Dream.  Scenes are quick and fluid, and transitioning between them is handled with grace and feels natural.

All of that still does not describe what the film is about.  And here's the dilemma.  Like with anything worth value, there will be different interpretations, and Tomlin's Dream Lover is no different.  People are definitely going to react differently, to get different things out of it.  One may feel pity for Anderson, the lead actor (and played by the dapper Adam Griffith) who has either moved on in a relationship or not, while someone else may find him skeevy and calloused.  Then there's the spurned-and-devilish Selene (played by Maria Rowene), the other main POV.  Her development is as beautiful as it is frightening.  And the third main player is Hera (Jenna D'Angelo), though she's more of a secondary character.  Throw in the actual Greek myth of Selene and Endymion, and the film can take on a whole different meaning.  

The sound effects of Dream Lover are perfect.  They've definitely been loved on and tailored to each scene.  The camera shots are all very-well done (I particularly liked the wide-angle shot of Young Anderson hiding under the bench), and even the sex scene was done with skill.  The accompanying score at the end provided a haunting tune to close out the credits*, wrapping up a stirring little movie.

So the real question is what's to do now?  I could talk about my thoughts, my feelings, but I also don't want to cross into spoilery.  So instead I'll strongly recommend that you go to the Dream Lover site (here) and watch the film.  It's 16-minutes long, nothing too taxing.  It's free, too.  (If it asks for a password, use "sweetdreams."  And don't worry.  Mattson wants as many people to watch it as possible; it's password-protected because of film festivals or something.)  Furthermore, if you like it, be sure and let Mattson know, as well as any other people you'd care to share it with.  Dream Lover is a great exploratory film about dreams, love, loss, and many other things, and you'd be sore pressed to miss it.  It's also a perfect conclusion to this year's RIP, as horror is definitely present (a la monsters and confusion).

I believe in Mattson Tomlin.  I've watched everything he's made available, except for Pit.A.Pat, whatever that is, and I see him going places.  His vision is great.  His skills are tremendous.  His passion is obvious.  So here's to you, Mr. Tomlin.  Great work on Dream Lover.  Now, I can't wait to get to the feature film of Solomon Grundy...

*Yep, my name is in the credits.  I'm assuming its the Kickstarter donors list.


David Wagner said...

I'll definitely have to check it out. Maybe my name's in the credits too! I'll be famous!

Thanks for the review.

contemplatrix said...

great review. finally found the time and quiet to watch.

initial thoughts --which will likely cross into spoilery--:

~while I agree that it is sufficiently complex enough for multiple readings, I think (by necessity) it has a fairly strong narrative that builds, established in the most part by the score (which is gorgeous)and sounds (which is magnificently done). Anderson may not be a sympathetic character at first, the escalation of events shift perspective and monster; and it doesn't necessarily shift slowly; however, the true unmistakable revelation does come later--the progression to this point is lovely.

~I tend to worry with the more independently filmed narratives that they remain so "artfully" abstract as to be incomprehensible but for a select few. I can enjoy this in experience and in contemplation.

~Having Endymion/Selene in mind did make for a really nice/thought-provoking viewing experience. I wonder at the cues, if I would have recalled the story on my own from my Greek Lit days while watching Dream Lover.

~I know if you hadn't called the other woman Hera I wouldn't have known, not that I feel like she is aptly named for sake of reference; at least not w/out help. For one, Hera is never a sexual figure in my mind. Am I to recall her as Defender of the (virtuous) Home?

~I am impressed with Maria Rowene (Selene). and am still very much disturbed by the film--so thanks for sharing, Logan!

~The transitions are very nice, especially toward the beginning where the shift is more defined and not finessed by soft fades or pixilation, etc. would've liked more of a loss of focus with the lens more than the manipulations, but you are right about the camera-work. the photographer gave Tomlin a great deal of loveliness to work with.

alright...could probably ramble a bit further... thanks for sharing this Logan, both the film and your thoughts.

I do hope the best for Tomlin and cast and crew. really, I am still marveling over the sound and score...


Mattson Tomlin said...

it is so strange coming across people reviewing and analyzing my film. strange, but really humbling and exciting.

Logan, thank you for this review and sharing the film with your followers. I'm extremely pleased that people seem to be genuinely enjoying it.

logankstewart said...

@Dave: Aye, your name was in there. So congrats!

@L: Thanks for such an in-depth response. (I'm sure Mattson appreciates it, too.) I'm right there with you on your thoughts, but for me, I'd never heard of the Endymion/Selene myth until Mattson mentioned it back on his blog in the early stages of "Dream Lover."

@Mattson: You're welcome, friend. I imagine it's very humbling and very exciting, indeed. Best of luck!