TIFF 2016 Review: Mean Dreams
Nathan Morlando’s Citizen Gangster feels like a movie in search of an anchor, and finds one instead in feeling like a reheated version of Malick. It is surprising that for a film so focused on making clear that it doesn’t take place in Canada is somehow even more Canadian, as it dances around issues of abuse and becomes a young lovers on the run tale that is achingly familiar.
We were fans of Morlando’s Citizen Gangster and of female lead Sophie Nélisse but yet this tepid rehash of umpteenth “dissent within the family” tropes leads to a sense of ennui for a film-goer that does not simply respond based on visceral reactions. There is no true centre of the film, as Bill Paxton’s Wayne Caraway often comes off as cartoonish, and Nélisse feels all wrong for the role of Casey Caraway.
Thought at least the pair resonate, as male lead Jonas Ford (Josh Wiggins) struggles with blandness and fails to make much of an impact at all. Though Mean Dreams tries, it feels awfully dreary.