Imperial Dreams Review
When "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" came out in 2015, we all fell in love with Daisy Ridley and many people fell in love with John Boyega. It was easy to see why, they were both incredibly charismatic leads, they displayed wonderful chemistry and obviously had the time of their lives doing a "Star Wars" movie. I already knew how good John Boyega was though. I love, love, love the film "Attack The Block." Boyega is the lead in that movie and all those years ago, I knew, once he got the right role, he'd find his way to superstardom. I think he's heading in that direction now. "Imperial Dreams" was showcased in 2014 during the Sundance Film Festival, but didn't get a wide release until now, through Netflix.
"Imperial Dreams" feels like a thousand other inner city movies you can name. Boyega stars as Bambi. Bambi is a former gangster who just recently got out of prison. Now, he has to take care of his son while his son's mother serves a time in prison too. They live in a car, Bambi is struggling to go legitimate, and its really tough. His uncle is trying to get him back into the world of crime once again, but Bambi is trying really hard not to. He wants a better life for his family, and he already has child services breathing down his neck. He needs a miracle, and he needed that miracle yesterday.
Yes, I get it. It feels like every other inner city movie that has come out in the history of film. Boyega makes a believable former gangster and an equally believable man trying to right a whole life of wrongs, and trying to do so in the quickest way possible. Ethan and Justin Coach both play his son Day, and they do a terrific job matching the talent Boyega displays. They are a powerful bond in scene after scene, and its hard to really tell who is better than the other. Some other really great acting work is created by Glen Plummer who plays Bambi's Uncle Shrimp. There are some tense scenes between Bambi and Shrimp and they work impeccably well.
The film grapples with mass incarceration, racial profiling, the importance of education, and several other obstacles that the system uses to keep people in distress. This isn't a movie thats trying to say that doing bad things is good, or to have sympathy for gangsters. But it says that those willing to rise up in that environment deserve a fair shot. When some tries to get up and become something better than they were, that is something worth admiring.
This may be a small fair for Boyega, but he is still on track to becoming a big star. Look for him in the upcoming "Pacific Rim 2!" If you want to, check this out on Netflix. Its a nice little film that I think you should check out.
FINAL GRADE: B