Movie Review: Sleep Dealer
Good science fiction deals with social issues by asking a few simple “what if” questions. For Sleep Dealer, the question is, “What if we could have the migrant labor without the migrants?” That’s quite a question, but it’s explored quite thoroughly. Instead of jacking your mind into some spectacular virtual reality, have workers jack their nervous system directly into the otherwise dumb robots performing the physical labor in the developed world. The director, Alex Rivera says(1) that the story takes place “five minutes from now,” and that timeliness strengthens it. Military Drones are all over the news and are redefining what’s actually considered a military action. The recent pirate satellite communications crackdown in Brazil is eerily foreshadowed in the movie. The evil plot(2) of the last Bond movie is realized in stark dystopia.
The three main characters are all likable yet troubled in their own ways. Their stories intertwine elegantly and make this not just good science fiction, but also just a good movie. I found the scenes filmed in the Mexican desert to be gorgeous and even the grittier sections of Tiajuana were captured well.
I would have watched this by myself, but I’m overjoyed that I got to share it with my fiancee and some friends (3). The general consensus was that the low budget was visible in some of the special affects, but in almost any other way, the movie shined. There’s some groan-worthy humor related to the Nodes and the plot was wrapped up a bit too tidily, but neither of those were enough to detract from the movie’s high points. I personally like that the movie and all the stuff wrapped around it was bilingual. There are subtitles where needed, but in many places Spanish and English coexist, if not in harmony, at least realistically. Even the credits morph from English to Spanish. Sleep Dealer has already won a handful of awards and is currently in a small number of theaters in the US. If you can get to a theater, make every effort, but if you’re not in Los Angeles or New York, go ahead and toss this on your Netflix Queue. You won’t be disappointed.
- Wired ( 01.24.08 ): Sleep Dealer Injects Sci-Fi Into Immigration Debate
- “…James Bond sets out to stop an environmentalist from taking control of a country’s valuable resource.”
- genre writers. Check out the spectacular review by Chris