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God of Dreams

Critic:

Patrick Foley

|

Posted on:

11 Feb 2022

Film Reviews
God of Dreams
Directed by:
Jurian Isabelle
Written by:
Jurian Isabelle
Starring:
Jessie Reeder, Keshawn Pettigrew, Julia Reilly
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Be prepared for a mind-bending, cerebrum-twisting and brain-stimulating experience with God of Dreams, Jurian Isabelle’s ambitious conceptual epic that mixes action, thriller and sci-fi elements to tell the story of a society in which dreaming is outlawed.

 

In a world where dreaming can be prevented through medication, a tyrannical US government has banned the act through law, and enforces this with a machine-like military police force. An underground community exists to fight back against this imposition, and following the death of leadership figure Angelo the 7th (Joshua Langford), a band of misfits come together to try and find a new direction for their rebellion.

 

God of Dreams is a genuinely ambitious film from director and writer Jurian Isabelle which explores an original concept in a well-realised dystopian setting, though does suffer from an overly complex plot and from having no primary protagonist. The film is highly conceptual, and its central premise – dreams being illegal – is presented well and in a manner which is related effectively to the modern world. Jurian Isabelle uses this to comment on race, police militarization, overbearing government and the struggles of maintaining and directing a grassroots movement. Tying the science-fiction elements to contemporary issues and challenges provides the film with a powerful political message.

 

The film’s plot is complex and told from the perspective of a number of different characters. This multi-perspective approach makes the story difficult to follow, as audiences lack a persistent basing in the world they are presented with. As an outsider to the group, Julia Reilly’s Ket is the film’s best conduit for providing exposition to the viewer, as she requires the same explanations herself. Other characters such as Keshawn Pettigrew’s Prophet Major are more deeply embedded in the story’s politics, and whilst they are intriguing characters in their own right, the ricocheting approach to character taking precedent from scene to scene does not help with getting a grounding in a world that requires significant explanation, especially as plot-twists and revelations begin.

 

The characters themselves however are scripted brilliantly and naturally – never sounding trite or hammy despite having to engage in complicated sci-fi narrative. This is down to Isabelle’s tight script, and the acting talents of the ensemble cast. A fine example is Ket and Rasui (Aric Smith)’s bus stop conversation in which the underground’s dreaming techniques are explained – establishing an integral part of the film’s world without breaking immersion. Fine performances also come courtesy of Omar Cook as Ali, and Ann Nesby as Grandma Mae – demonstrating the strength of the film’s casting across the board. However, it still feels like the film would have been better served by shifting focus to one or two of these characters, rather than spreading itself thinner over multiple.

 

Visually, the film is a treat – convincingly portraying a near-future dystopia where citizens are on constant edge and tracked throughout their daily lives. Lighting is used particularly well when contrasting the upper-class lives of Ket and her family with bright bold colours, compared to the rest of the resistance who operate in the dark – and under the authorities’ noses. The blue flashing lights that engulf the character’s cars on a number of occasions as the dream police stop them is also a deeply traumatic effect that harkens very-real police brutality incidents. The recurring sound of the cop’s leather outfits stretching also brilliantly creates a sense of deep discomfort whenever in their presence – another impactful production touch.

 

Though it’s storytelling can be incoherent at times, and its plot difficult to follow, God of Dreams offers style, originality, an intriguing concept and some fine performances which make it an entertaining and thought-provoking watch.

About the Film Critic
Patrick Foley
Patrick Foley
Digital / DVD Release, Indie Feature Film, Amazon Prime, Film Festival