They slip through their separate lives in a dazed dreamland, blinding themselves to what they do not wish to see: the maestro, a drug addicted jazz musician, and the hitman, a hired killer tied to the mob boss called Hercules, operating efficiently and without question and trying not to dwell on what he sees when basement doors which normally remain closed sometimes open.
But nobody can live in dreamland forever, and the day has come for both the maestro and the hitman when time runs out; hired to play at the wedding of the brother of the formidable Countess, the maestro’s trumpet has been damaged and he has no money to replace it, and worse, he has disappointed Hercules, while the hitman’s slumbering conscience has received an unwanted wake up call.
A young boy in the same block of apartments comes to him, begging for help; his sister Olivia has been taken by Hercules, intended as the child bride of the Countess’ sinister brother, the Vampire, but even if he had any way to get to her before she is exchanged as a chattel in a corrupt business deal there is no plan which could get them both out alive.
A surreal black comedy thriller from the writer and director of alt-zombie cult classic Pontypool, Tony Burgess and Bruce McDonald, Dreamland also reunites the stars of that film, Stephen McHattie in the dual roles of the maestro and the hitman, often playing scenes with himself, two facets of the same ruined soul tied together by fate, and Lisa Houle as another worker at Hercules’ nightclub seeking a better life she knows will never come.
With echoes of many of the worlds of David Lynch from Twin Peaks to Lost Highway in the themes of duality, the cool jazz soundtrack and the abstract oddity and painful absurdity of the trail of chaos left across the unnamed European city, the characterisations exist totally and profoundly in the moment, doorways into inexplicable madness and obsession best left closed.
The cast rounded out by He Never Died’s Henry Rollins as the razor-tempered Hercules, Errors of the Human Body’s Tómas Lemarquis as the repulsively intimate Vampire and Kalifornia‘s Juliette Lewis as the Countess, a monster in designer gowns, all of them embracing and indulging their vile characters, Dreamland teeters on the cusp of unravelling to a nightmare populated by people for whom no good choices are left.