Review: Margot Robbie led 'Dreamland' missing some luster
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, at 27 years old, shows now signs of slowing down and whose latest feature “Dreamland” loves old fashion romances. Saddled with admirable performances, and nods to cinematic gems like “Bonnie and Clyde,” Margot Robbie plays Allison, a gorgeous bank robber on the run and Finn Cole is Eugene, an innocent farm boy who becomes her savior. A familiar but contrived premise that begins earnestly before stalling at the finish line, minus a staggering final shot.
Unspooled through voiceover by Lola Kirke as Eugene’s younger sister, Phoebe, looks back on the past 20 years, specifically 1935 when she was a child during The Great Depression and dust storms ravaged Texas. This narration isn’t consistent, however, delivered in spurts to remind audiences whose guiding the journey. Aside from polished art direction, Lyle Vincent’s cinematography is brilliant at capturing fractured rural landscapes, including the lonely farm and a town on the brink of decimation.
But when Eugene stumbles upon Allison, a fugitive on the run following a deadly robbery gone haywire, with a bullet wound inside the family’s barn, he’s suddenly found purpose. What follows is a predictable love triangle that, history dictates, can only end one way. At least they’re answers to Allison’s story: she claims to have killed no one in the robbery and lover boy Eugene decides to follow his heart over instincts. For his part, Cole does an exceptional job understanding the predicament his character is struggling with, especially with stepfather (Travis Fimmel) - a local Sheriff on the prowl for Allison’s $10,000 bounty - sniffing around asking questions. Despite Margot Robbie being covered in dirt smudges she’s still Margot Robbie of which no amount of dust could hide the fact. She’s a talented starlet and is basically this generation's Marilyn Monroe.
Joris-Peyrafitte’s creative choices are unique in that flashback sequences shift aspect ratios and the camera lingers on Eugene making tough, life changing, decisions. While this gives “Dreamland” a realm of believability, countless melodramatic cliches about life, urban legends, and those who tell our stories undermines Robbie and Cole’s electric chemistry. That alone saves “Dreamland” from being another lofty romance floating in the wind but it could use more luster.
DREAMLAND is now playing in select theaters and will be available digitally Tuesday, November 17th.