Directed by Adam Morse.
Starring Laurie Calvert, Billy Zane, Sadie Frost, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Felicity Gilbert and Cristian Solimeno.
A young man named Zel gets the opportunity to drastically change his life when his neighbour introduces him to the concept of lucid dreaming.
Have you ever felt like you wanted to conduct a trial run of a day, a situation, a conversation even, before you actually had to live through it? Adam Morse’s futuristic debut centres on Zel, a loner desperately waiting for love to find him. He pines after his attractive neighbour Jasmine, without the confidence to introduce himself. Everything changes upon the intervention of mystical figure Elliot, another neighbour seeking merely to assist Zel in his efforts.
Playing Zel, Laurie Calvert channels Craig Roberts in Submarine and every Michael Cera performance, but his socially awkward nature isn’t played for comedy. In a role that is sadly little more than a cameo, Billy Zane is excellent as sleep expert Elliot, suggesting that Zel venture into his own dreams in an attempt to practice interacting with the girl of his dreams. “It’s called lucid dreaming,” Zane handily explains, “Essentially you’re awake while you’re asleep”. It all seems like a deal with the devil, but it isn’t immediately apparent what the catch is.
The film kicks into a whole other gear as Zel begins to take Elliot’s advice. The first dream sequence is a masterpiece of desire, Walter Mair’s score invading to the point of utter submergence. Michel Dierickx’s camerawork is a treat – quick edits between static shots from early on are replaced here with long, languishing ones, fully accepting the dream nature of the piece. Flitting back and forth between this state and reality, Zel confuses his feelings for Jasmine with those he quickly builds for a co-worker, all the while egged on by his new life coach of a neighbour.
The biggest issue with Lucid is that it never capitalises on all of its tantalising set-ups. Zel’s struggle to differentiate the real world from the dream state is never really utilised, nor is the built in mechanic to tell the two apart. Lucid lacks the intelligence and playfulness of Inception – the film it is obviously trying to emanate – choosing sadly to focus on the cliched romance story. This is perhaps not so bad, until all the characters fail to develop beyond the single dimension with which they were introduced. Most criminal of all is the treatment of Zane’s character: a real opportunity for impressive acting is wasted, as Elliot seems completely without malevolence or agenda of any kind.
Lucid is frustrating because of its clear technical promise. Character and plot development seriously hinder the piece, and the eye roll-inducing main conflict that Zel has with his toxically masculine boss is just so tame. Whilst watching Lucid, it’s hard to escape the feeling that if you had the ability to control your own dreams, you might think of something a little more exciting than this.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★