The sound of trumpets can harken its own sense of dread, at least in the world of “Dreamland.” Set among a landscape that blends surrealism and realistic modern-day issues, this new film delves into its own murky waters. Viewers are transported into the tale of Johnny, a hitman tasked with destroying the career of a legendary trumpeter; not with a destructive tear of his instrument, instead his focus is set on the musician’s pinkie finger. The consequences of his intrepid quest push the bounds of sanity and reality.
Director Bruce McDonald is no stranger to pushing limitations and breaking through genre constructs. The filmmaker has a connection with musical based material that extends well beyond this project. While many fans will cite the radio oriented tale “Pontypool” as his best foray into sound before sight, it’s important not to forget his work with the great “Hard Core Logo.” The punk based drama captured the sentiment and scene in all its gritty fabulousness.
McDonald isn’t alone in this warped thematic journey. This time, he brings back Stephen McHattie in dual lead roles as both the hitman and the trumpeter. The actor is no stranger to deep and disturbing portrayals, showing the promise of going deeper with both extreme characters. In a not so surprising turn, Henry Rollins joins the cast as a gangster that sets the hit in motion. It should be noted his role involves a controversial aspect of the film, human trafficking, and the consequences for young women trapped in its clutches. Juliette Lewis’ turn as The Countess allows her the room she needs to perform on all levels. For Lewis, the higher she can turn up the drama and delirium, the better. Her work in films like “Kalifornia” and “Natural Born Killers” show that she’s developed more of a range with these complicated characters.
Does the song end well for this troubled hitman? Discover the answer when “Dreamland” comes to digital, on-demand, and select theaters on June 5. Before it hits screens, watch this first trailer for the film.