Two films from Paramount share different viewpoints of pursuing dreams, and figuring out how to move forward. Jungleland and Dreamland both tackle the angst of a community or specific character in dealing with their frustrations.
In Jungleland, Jack O’Connell and Charlie Hunnam play brothers Walter “Lion” Kaminski and Stanley Kaminski. Lion has significant fighting skills, as a once-promising boxer, but his brother’s management of his career has ended in poverty and frustration to this point. When the brothers are forced to transport a young woman named Sky (Jessica Barden) across the country, they discover that they haven’t actually hit rock bottom.
In Dreamland, Finn Cole plays a Midwestern farmboy, Eugene Evans, who discovers that the outlaw Allison Wells (Margot Robie) has taken refuge in his little town. He must figure out whether to become her ally or pursue her capture for the bounty. Complicating factors include that Evans’ stepfather George (Travis Kimmel) is a local sheriff’s deputy, with whom Evans already has a contentious relationship.
All of these young people want something different for their lives than what they’re getting. They want something better for their lives, better for their future, better financially, emotionally, and relationally. In each story, the decisions that the young people take leads them into a collision course with other characters, with the system, with their own mortality. As one might expect from an external view, each of these stories finds the people at a crossroads, with violence in the collision.
As a fan of O’Connell, Hunnam, and Robie, they proved to be solid yet again, with strong performances. The films aren’t happy-go-lucky, but they are both entertaining, and thought-provoking.