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Dreamscape

By Jim Gay

Alex Gardner (Dennis Quaid) is a talented young psychic who's frittering his gifts away betting on the ponies. That is, until he's coerced by his old pal and mentor Dr. Paul Novotny (Max von Sydow) into taking part in a dream research project in which his psychic abilities make him indispensable. The project concerns "dreamlinking," whereby talented individuals like Alex hook up via electrodes and project themselves into some troubled subject's nightmares, in which they not only observe but participate in the dream, hopefully effecting some remedy. Alex is by nature a feckless guy, a charismatic scoundrel sporting a Cheshire cat's grin. But he warms easily to his new role as dream-dwelling psychotherapist, having a core of decency. Not so his nemesis, Tommy Ray Glatman (David Patrick Kelly), a dreamlink prodigy and pawn of Bob Blair (Christopher Plummer), who runs the research project for the government (he's described as the "head of covert intelligence"). Blair is worried about the President (Eddie Albert), whose nightmares of nuclear holocaust cause him to escalate disarmament talks with the Russians, much to Blair's dismay, being your basic evil, slick, smarmy covert kind of guy. Turns out Blair's real aim is to use the project to train dreamlink assassins, his star pupil being psycho Tommy Ray and his test case the President. Only Alex is there to stop them.

Dreamscape is all business, with a well-structured screenplay that lays the groundwork for the film's many admirable performances. Kate Capshaw in particular is very dreamy as a research scientist and Dennis Quaid's love interest. And David Patrick Kelly is likely to become your worst nightmare, especially when he's the Snakeman, giving an often fantastical performance. But what you're most likely to remember from this wonderful thriller is the many vivid dream sequences, aptly surreal images from the troubled psyche.

 

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated PGNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Joseph Ruben

Stars: Dennis Quaid, Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer, Eddie Albert, Kate Capshaw, George Wendt, David Patrick Kelly

Released: August 15, 1984

Availability: DVD VHS


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