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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful and Tragic

9/10
Author: Quizar from United States
19 October 2010

This is a mesmerizing film about the secrets that lie beneath the surface in all of us. A teen son looking to find his meaning in life. A drunkard father whose life has all but ended. The characters are raw and flawed in a way that makes you shift in your seat. At times I found myself disturbed by the dark turns the film took but from an artistic angle it was courageous for the story to snatch you out of your comfort zone. It's something many films are afraid to attempt.

The director (Makonnen) knows how to tell a story with his use of sound, editing, and cinematography. Not to mention the haunting score that only adds to the overall emotion of the film. At times the film also has a very quite presence, but this serves as a platform for the disturbing and thought provoking finale. A truly independent film to the core, Dreams and Shadows is an engrossing, beautifully tragic film that you'll remember long after seeing it.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Dares to be different.

10/10
Author: Movieconnect from United States
19 October 2010

I must say this is a brave film. In this cookie cutting climate of movie making this is a breath of fresh air. The film juggles a series of premises that seem to be strange bed fellows but ironically work. Rugged actor James Russo breaks mobster stereotype playing an troubled alcoholic cripple who searches for salvation in the bottom of a vodka bottle. His visceral performance will leave you both angered and sympathizing for his character. Shawn-Caulin Young plays his day-dreaming son who wants a way out of a life that's plagued by his father's guilt. Not to mention the bully and his goons that seem to follow him everywhere he goes. There's some really cool Samurai images that pop up throughout the film as Billy's imagination rescues him from his chaotic "real life". If you're looking for a fast pace action film this is not the one. But for you dialog junkies who enjoy a drama that grows, builds and twists you'll enjoy Dreams and Shadows.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Dark, Twisted and Good

10/10
Author: FilmCritical from New York
18 October 2010

No rainbows or baby unicorns floating around in this film. It's teen angst at it's finest. Dreams and Shadows doesn't try to created a cozy environment for the viewer, instead it kicks you in the gut with a dose of reality then keeps on kicking. James Russo is tragic and entertaining as the alcoholic father with a closet full of secrets. His son (played by Shawn-Caulin Young) is a social pariah who dives into his Samurai obsessed imagination to escape his father's turmoil as well as the local bullies chasing him down. Sounds like something you might have heard about on the local news, right? This film is a microcosm of what's going on with the youth of today. Teens tormenting each other until someone hits the breaking point. Kudos to the filmmakers because it looks awesome. Can't tell if it was shot on 35mm or the RED Camera but it has a very rich and at times shadowy look. The acting is strong and the film is well directed. This film functions mostly through the well written dialog and is punctuated with some very suspenseful moments that will keep you guessing till the very end.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Poignant Drama, Not.

4/10
Author: diggus doggus from United Kingdom
15 October 2010

Something about this film leads me to believe the most used adjective that will be used in the reviews will be "poignant", together with the word "Drama".

Well, here is my review: I knew something was wrong in this film when the main character pulls out a katana - a symbol of the young man's want of freedom - and it's a cheap $50 slasher you can get on the web; suspicion turns to horror as the film fails to develop past the dialogue stage, and after an hour i had enough.

Don't waste your time with Dreams And Shadows, as it contains little of either. And little of anything, really. It's not "bad" film, its just not much film, really. And certainly it's not "poignant".. there are a million better films with the same content, and another million who are just as bad but have better production values.. now that i remember, this film has pretty bad production as well.

Thats it. Final vote, 4/10

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A haunting movie that stays with you.

9/10
Author: Eyesonscreen from United States
1 November 2010

"Dreams and Shadows" is an excellent film. The acting is air tight with James Russo leading the charge. His character's flawed personality hangs on the balance between concerned father and crazy drunk. His son (played by Shawn-Caulin Young) is a fragile dreamer who ultimately becomes the anti-hero of the film. Slower paced than some might expect, this in no way detracts from the overall brilliance the film conveys. The character development is delicately wrapped in the plot and very richly told. It's truly and accurate social commentary on the sad, but at times bittersweet condition of the human heart and the dark things people will do for love. Add a dash of surrealism and you have a great film.

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