Sleep Dealer

Sleep Dealer


Reviewed by: Tony Sullivan

Budding peasant farmer and would-be cyber-geek, Memo (Luis Fernando Pena), unwittingly triggers a military strike on his home village where drought conditions are abetted by an unsympathetic corporation that controls the water supply. Evading his demons, Memo sets off for employment in the big city, Tijuana, and en route Memo meets up with the beauteous Luz (Leonor Varela), a cyber-writer who blogs her own memories directly into the net via surgically implanted ‘nodes’. Memo gets his own set of illicit nodes and finds employment with an engineering company that uses virtual-reality controlled robots to do manual labour across the border in the US of A.

The third link in the chain is Rudy (Jacob Vargas), a military drone pilot, responsible for the attack on Memo’s village. Rudy has discovered Luz’ memory blogs and is beginning to piece together a rather disagreeable puzzle and begins to repent.

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An interesting sci-fi take on the near future and a pleasing return to the cyber-punk mentality of Strange Days and eXistenZ. Set 30 minutes into the future Alex Rivera’s cyber-punk thriller packs enough imagination for three movies, but the most pleasing aspects are in the satire on consumerism and US/Mexican relations.

Made on a minuscule budget the feature took some eight years to get from script to screen, one wonders how much more innovative it might have seemed back those eight years.

Performances are satisfactory from a cast of unknowns and the cameraman works wonders. Special effects are variable as per the budget although the drone fighters pleasantly reminded me of Robinson Crusoe On Mars. The slightly dreamy nature of the VR is a little ‘sleep dealing’, this is a film that I might actually relish more if were given a dose of the Michael Bay’s to pick up the action, pacing and the budget.

From a technology standpoint, I can’t imagine anything that would compel me to have surgical procedures done in order to jack-in to the ‘net but then I didn’t anticipate tongue piercing or waggling my wand at the Wii either. Just don’t come anywhere near me with your wretched nodes.

Reviewed on: 20 Jun 2008
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Node Runner - if they catch you you're through!

Director: Alex Rivera

Writer: Alex Rivera, David Riker

Starring: Luis Fernando Peña, Leonor Varela, Jacob Vargas

Year: 2008

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: US, Mexico

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