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Smart Science Fiction Still Lives on Film April 13, 2010

Posted by vorpalkeith in Movie Review.
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Sometimes I’m really bad about my Netflix account, in that some of the films I get will be sitting on my desk a very long time before I get around to watching them (I partly blame this movie-watching sloth on the instant viewing option, which I seem to use far more freely than the physical DVDs that I’m sent). That was the case of the most recent film that I watched, Sleep Dealer. It’s been the longest I’ve gone before watching one of their films to return. This has been sitting on my desk for the better part of two and a half months.

I shouldn’t have waiting so long. This movie was really good, and incredibly smart near-future science fiction.

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Wikipedia describes it by saying: “Set in a near-future, militarized world marked by closed borders, virtual labor and a global digital network that joins minds and experiences, three strangers risk their lives to connect with each other and break the barriers of technology.”

Which only somewhat begins to cover it. The film is a story about where our civilization is going with rapid computerization depersonalizing our interactions, growing distrust between nations due to terrorism and immigration, the privatization of natural resources, and the widening gap between the poor and the wealthy. It is also, ultimately, a story about redemption through action.

Luis Fernando Peña stars as Memo, a farmer’s son who, after personal tragedy, travels to Tijuana to get nodes and work. Nodes are implanted network ports which will allow him to connect his nervous system to the global information highway. With these he’ll be able to get work in one of the network factories – called Sleep Dealers – where he will work remotely, controlling a construction robot in the United States. I hesitate to give away any more except to say that it’s very good and you should definitely watch it.

Another thing that I think is worth mentioning about the movie is that it is a Spanish language film. I’m happy that we’re seeing a trend in filmmaking where we’re getting more international takes on science fiction, such as District 9. It’s interesting to see things from a different perspective than the American and British science fiction that we’re used to.

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