Carl (Joe Rubin) is a unique sort of hitman. He has nightmares, wherein he sees the future and witnesses a criminal in the act of some manner of violence or indecency. It is then Carl’s job, guided by Sid (Pete Navis), to find the criminal and eliminate them before they can commit the crime. Carl is both a part of a grander system, and off-the-grid at the same time. What he does is still killing, but he is consistently told that his dreams are accurate and to not act would be far worse.
At the core is the idea that Carl kills the bad to protect the good. He can’t dwell in the middle, trying to figure it all out, or the world will fall about around him. Of course, as we all know, there’s far more to the gray than is ever readily apparent at first glance, and Carl’s nightmares are getting more confusing and he seems to be suffering both mentally and physically for his efforts.
Nightmare is a quality mix of sci-fi, thriller and noir. The visuals pulse in a black-and-white world while the dilemmas in the film are presented in equally as stark contrast. It’s a powerful feast for the eyes, despite the lack of color, and the sound mix also packs a punch, at times bringing us into the turmoil in Carl’s head.
I can’t say I was a huge fan of the final resolution, but I wasn’t all that surprised by it either. At least the film kept me intrigued throughout, and if I’m disappointed by the answer I got at the end, credit to the film for making me care enough to ask the questions in the first place.
In the end, the strength of Nightmare for me goes back to its masterful use of its contrast-crazy visual style. The premise is interesting enough, the acting is solid and the pace keeps everything moving forward so nothing lags or becomes tiresome. All good things, of course, but, again, it’s the imagery of it all that I truly adored.
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