After a successful KickStarter campaign to raise money for a short film, Nicole Albarelli managed to make a full feature on only 20k with To Dream. Gaining multiple awards and recognition state side, the film appears to be striking a chord!
Now after its festival run, To Dream is available on various online platforms with a lot of positive attention to help it’s viewer counts, I’m sure.
Abarelli is comparable to a millennial Andrea Arnold as she delivers a hard hitting drama that has indie-hipster all over it. With a cool 80’s synth soundtrack, use of natural light and a saturated colour grade, this film accomplishes the same tone and feel as a 100k plus American-Sundance favourite.
The film follows best friends Luke and Tommy from childhood to adulthood as they naively attempt money making quick-fixes to fund their dream trip to America. Set against the backdrop of a relentless London, the two friends deal with sexuality, domestic abuse and poverty.
The film is a simple tale, with looming zooms in and out to put a microscope under the character’s lives. The cast act their parts well and most of the elements lock in, yet there seems to be something missing which could have given the film a final varnish, which is a more interesting script.
There are plenty of films which have a very simple story, yet because their words are inherently individual to the characters and situations, the world becomes so much richer. Where as because this film is too realistic, it means that the character’s conversations sometimes become forgettable. Imagine Reservoir Dogs without the likes of the “I don’t tip” speech, for example. The characters just merge into one.
There are memorable motifs peppered in, like Luke’s father coming to life whenever his marital song comes on the radio, but yet most of the dialogue is just full of boring banter like “you alright bruv?”, “yeah bruv”, “It’s gonna be great”. One particular character which I felt could have been developed more was Easy, a drug dealer who the friends visit for a ‘fix’. He is as forgettable as any generic London-gangster character which lessens his threat. The friends main drive that they both want to escape their life to America is lost until the very end.
Despite this, this is a strong debut from Ababrell.
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