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Claire Cooper (Annette Bening) is a children's book illustrator who dreams of shocking events, even when she's awake. Her local community is under threat from a rampant serial killer of children (Robert Downey Jr.). Claire believes her visions relate to the atrocities he has committed. When her own daughter disappears, she realises he is feeding her images, not of what he has done, but what he is about to do. Convinced that she is psychotic, nobody takes her warnings seriously. Thus she is forced to take him into her mind completely, and face the full horror of him, alone.

Review by Louise Keller:
Complex, dark and disturbing, In Dreams combines the metaphysical world of the tortured mind with the hypnotic allure of a lost town whose inhabitants and all their secrets have been drowned in a watery grave. Neil Jordan's passion and intensity resounds in this claustrophobic tale that combines shades of Don't Look Now with glimpses of John Fowles' The Collector.

Themes of water and drowning both in a physical and mental sense are consistent throughout; the result is a haunting journey that impresses by its fervour and shocks by its depravity. The mental anguish and torment of being unwillingly used as a receptacle for the disturbed mind of a psychopath is an intriguing and compelling experience. We encounter rational, irrational, sane, insane, real and imaginary.

With complex, provocative dream sequences, In Dreams is a wild ride both mentally and physically. It is a disturbing film delving into a sharp level of consciousness, its enticing imagery exploding with dramatic tension. A carefully selected, sterling cast propels this film into a realm of artistic merit. Annette Bening is superb as Claire, the tortured soul, whose obsession becomes possession. Bening is naturally drawn to strong characters and this role showcases the actress' diversity, her unselfconsciousness and sheer dramatic prowess. She manages to convey her own character's incredulity of the events, with disarming truth. Robert Downey Jnr exhibits a riveting edginess as Vivian, a highly deranged individual whose torment is transferred to Claire. He is a great performer whose screen presence is mesmerising. The production design is moody, the score eclectic, the settings beautiful.

Vividly haunting, with images that will linger, In Dreams is a gripping, intense drama that will take you on a trip far beyond your wildest dreams.

Published May 20, 2004

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CAST: Annette Bening, Aidan Quinn, Stephen Rea, Robert Downey Jr, Katie Sagona, Paul Guilfoyle

DIRECTOR: Neil Jordan

SCRIPT: Bruce Robinson (based on the novel 'Doll's Eyes' by Bari Wood)

RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes

PRESENTATION: widescreen



DVD RELEASE: November 19, 2003

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