As if specifying the year shouldn't be enough, I actually feel like I should probably specify which 2019 'Dreamland' movie this is. Believe it or not, another film of the same title was released in the same year, but with a very different story. To put it simply, this is the Margot Robbie one, recently released on VOD, directed by Miles Joris-Peyrafitte of upcoming 'Tank Girl' fame (or infame, the movie isn't made yet).
Here we have a depression-era 'Bonnie & Clyde' wannabe with a story you've basically seen about a million times. This is that story where the renegade character hides out in a barn while someone tends to (in this case) her, all the while hiding her from family and authorities. In this case, a fugitive bank robber named Allison Welles (Robbie) finds herself crossing paths with the son of a bounty hunter named Eugene Evans (Finn Cole). Eugene dreams of a fantasy life of being rebellious, going against authority, and reads action comics to escape. For the time being, about as rebellious as he gets is going so far as to steal these comics. The family being in dire straits makes him "have to" steel them, but he is soon caught.
Meanwhile, on the run from the law, Allison finds an abandoned barn that belongs to the Evans family, but unused due to the drought. Here, Eugene finds her and eventually finds himself torn between two decisions; does he turn her in and get a piece of the bounty, saving his family? Or does he side with her and live the renegade life he's always fantasized about? Truth be told, the decision they go with here is something I have to give credit to. I won't spoil what happens, but I will say that when it's all said and done, there's something very real and believable about the story here. I enjoyed the path it took, but I will admit that not everyone is going to agree on it.
One thing about this I find interesting is that it's narrated by the grown-up voice (Lola Kirke) of Eugene's little sister, Phoebe (Darby Camp). It tells her account of what happened between her brother and Allison, so it ends up being a love story from another person's perspective which I don't think is all that common. You'd think that such a setup predictably spoils the fates of our heroes, but you just might be thinking wrong. I didn't entirely love this movie, but I had to give it up to the way it all ended. Let's just say it's pretty open, but it's also not the kind of ending that's gonna blow your mind.
The performances here are pretty solid, but it's Robbie who really shines through. I suppose that shouldn't come as much of a surprise, but it's cool to see how far she's come. If it weren't for her performance in this, I daresay the movie would have been pretty boring. For a 'Bonnie & Clyde' wannabe, there's not a whole hell of a lot going on. There's just mid-level suspense when it comes to whether or not they're going to get caught. But you end up liking Robbie's character, and even empathizing with her a little despite what she's been through. The end of the film, once again, brings it all to light.
I'm gonna be a bit generous with this one, perhaps, but there was enough to hold my attention based on Robbie's performance, certain visual sequences and once again, just how real the story felt. For a work of fiction, it's more believable than some movies based on true stories - so I really have to give it credit for that. Finn Cole was nothing to sneeze at either, but he is a bit jittery and often not altogether likeable. But that's also part of what makes things make sense in the end, so I can't be too mad at that. It's a redundant storyline, but the execution is good enough that I got something from it more than I have in a while now with recent releases.