Sundance Movie Review: Sleep Dealer

When Sundance lead programer Geoffrey Gilmore introduced Sleep Dealer, he claimed that it would be hard to describe the film without saying that "it's unlike anything you've seen before." And while his claim is very true, Sleep Dealer very much reminds me of George Lucus' THX 1138. I am convinced that if Alex Rivera can do all this on such a low budget with a super 16 camera, that he will someday follow-up with a Star Wars sized epic. Rivera tells a story set in the backdrop of the near future to explore rising issues of today such as governments controlling oil and international border control.

Set in a future where people can plug into a global computer network using installed body modified holes that tap in their nervous system. The U.S. has installed a wall along the Mexican boarder, but the country still allows outsourcing through node workers who plug in and control remote control robots.  A private company has hijacked control of a small Mexican village's water supply, selling it back to them at a higher price. Memo Cruz is a young man living in this isolated non-tech village, with dreams of working in high-tech factories up north. One day he builds a transmitter that allows him to tap into  signals from around the world. But when this transmission is intercepted, it changes his life forever.

The low-fi special effects might be too cheap for mainstream audiences. Sleep Dealer is sure to become a cult classic with the sci-fi geeks, and rightfully so. It's so ambitious for its price-tag, you can't not admire the indie spirit that went into this film. There are so many interesting political messages that are debated with subtilely and care, which is why this story transcends most of the modern sci-fi films.

/Film Rating: 7.5 out of 10