Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Dreamers' Doesn't Deliver Brave New World of the '60S

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Dreamers' Doesn't Deliver Brave New World of the '60S

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Soergel, The Times-Union

Bernardo Bertolucci caused a stir with the sexual boundary-pushing in his X-rated Last Tango in Paris, 30 years ago. The Dreamers hasn't caused the same fuss, even with its rare NC-17 rating.

How could it? After all, what can shock these days? Certainly not Bertolucci's The Dreamers, which opens at AMC's Orange Park 24 today.

It strikes a certain nostalgic glow -- it's clear the setting, Paris in 1968 is dear to Bertolucci. But he's not able to make us understand why. It's a world filled with possibilities, with revolution, film, art, politics and sex, and it's all opening up to his young characters.

There's little sense of joy, though, as Bertolucci narrows it down to one sad, grim little anecdote.

And what's left is a feeling of vaguely oppressive, dirty-old-man seediness.

The first big sex scene, for example, takes place as two characters go to it on the kitchen floor while the third character cooks eggs for breakfast. It's supposed to be shocking, but you'll likely be thinking that the floor looks pretty grimy and uncomfortable.

And though the nudity is abundant, the sex likely won't strike many as terribly erotic; it's sex as a furtive mind game, sex as punishment, sex as a power trip.

The Dreamers does start well, though. It's engaging for its first 20 minutes or so, especially as we first meet the characters, who seem to hold some promise. They argue over Chaplin and Keaton, they argue about Chairman Mao, they reenact scenes from their favorite films (often rather charmingly).

The trouble is, there's really nothing there. They're talking politics, cinema, sex and existence, but you don't believe them for a second. They seem like nothing more than moderns, playing chain-smoking '60s types.

Matthew (Michael Pitt, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) is a suburbanite American taken in by French siblings Isabelle and Theo (Eva Green and Louis Garrel). …

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