Sleep Dealer is a science fiction film by New York-based writer/director Alex Rivera. His first feature-length film is set in near future Mexico (Rivera himself is of mixed Peruvian heritage). In this world of hi-tech, killer flying drones are common and construction workers power robots with their minds. On the flip side, families struggle to buy water hoarded by water concession reservoirs charging outrageous prices. The U.S. is heavily dependent on foreign workers for manual labor, but to avoid immigration, workers from Mexico and other countries connect to robots on U.S. soil via nodes integrated into their nervous systems. Corporations and families get their labor without the laborers.
The plot follows Memo Cruz (Luis Fernando Peña), a young hacker from a once prosperous farming community. He spends his days listening in on the world outside his small town of Santa Ana del Río, Oaxaca. One day his whole life changes into one he had only known from television.
Memo meets Luz Martínez, a blogger who literally sells her memories online. (The character is played by Leonor Varela; Stargate Atlantis fans may recognize her as High Priestess Chaya Sar ). Luz is fascinating to Memo because she is the first person he’s met with nodes, and Memo holds Luz’s interest as a way to pay off her student loans. Memo’s past soon catches up to him and therein lies the intriguing part of the story.
I highly recommend this film to any tech-loving or dystopian-loving geek. The writer did an excellent job of creating a rich world with its on slang and culture. Although the film loses steam about 2/3 into the movie, it recovers its momentum towards the end and you find yourself yearning to learn more about this brave new world. There is great potential for a sequel or a TV-series spin-off. Are you listening, Hollywood?
See the trailer in English at the movie’s website, though you might want to skip the spoiler-ridden synopsis.