While not a great science fiction movie, "Sleep Dealer" is visually inventive and expands on issues of boarder control and immigration with an eye on humanitarian abuses at the hands of America's industrial military complex. Set in the near future, Memo Cruz (Luis Fernando Pena) lives an impoverished farming life in Mexico's small village of Santa Ana del Rio. Memo and his father are forced purchase expensive water from a corporation that dammed up the area's nearby river. The corporation works with the US military to protect the dam from "Aqua-Terrorists" by using remote-controlled drone planes that periodically annihilate innocent civilians. Memo leaves his family to find work in a futuristic Tijuana where he meets a female journalist named Luz (Leonor Verela) who has computer nodes implanted in her body that enable her to sell her life experiences to the highest bidder. An unstable relationship develops between the pair of young lovers after she installs similar nodes in Memo so he can work in Tijuana's hi-tech factories. "Sleep Dealer" is a refreshingly atmospheric low budget sci-fi thriller in the vein of Kathryn Bigelow's "Strange Days," that shows great promise for director/co-writer Alex Rivera.
Not Yet Rated, 90 mins. (B) (Three Stars)