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Sleep Dealer (2008)



Average Rating: 5.8/10
Reviews Counted: 32
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 11

Sleep Dealer's depth and energy are almost enough to overcome a shaky screenplay and pedestrian acting.


Average Rating: 6.3/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 3

Sleep Dealer's depth and energy are almost enough to overcome a shaky screenplay and pedestrian acting.



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Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 116,118

My Rating

Movie Info

In a bleak future where the borders have been sealed, vast computer networks commodify memories, and corporate warriors have been militarized, a tech-savvy "campesino" from a small Santa Ana farm village discovers a mysterious transmission that seems to be a blueprint for the city of the future. Memo Cruz lives with his family in Santa Ana del Rio, a remote farming community that has recently been hijacked by a private company. Having already taken control of the entire area's water supply, the

Sep 8, 2009


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All Critics (32) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (11)

Sleep Dealer is flawed, but still vibrant and inventive. Whether he finds larger budgets or keeps doing movie like this, Rivera is definitely a filmmaker to follow.

June 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Alex Rivera's overstuffed but intriguing feature debut, Sleep Dealer, takes a speculative leap into Tijuana's near future, imagining the next evolution of cheap labor.

June 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Clearly, Rivera knows one of the great gifts of the sci-fi genre. An uncanny world invites new ways of seeing. It offers new chances to ask the hard -- and too often, hardened -- questions.

June 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The combination of rusty amateurism, future technology, and clear-and-present politics creates a trippy time-space kick: This dusty little movie feels like yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

May 14, 2009 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Adventurous, ambitious and ingeniously futuristic, Sleep Dealer is a welcome surprise.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sleep Dealer is an unusually thoughtful science fiction film, using the speculative energy of the genre to explore some troubling and complex contemporary issues.

April 17, 2009
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

what you'll be left with after seeing Sleep Dealer is not a collection of cool scenes so much as a collection of compelling questions about where our world is headed

September 28, 2009 Full Review Source:

Made on the cheap compared to Hollywood flicks, this thrillingly original and heartfelt Mexican film is a truly human story about the impact of technology on individuals and on society.

September 8, 2009 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

This Sundance hit takes the "jacking in" premise we've seen in everything from Neuromancer to eXistenZ and looks at it from the point of view of third world migrant workers.

August 11, 2009 Full Review Source: UGO

Sleep Dealer is reminiscent of a Philip K. Dick dystopia that might actually read better than it looks here, with average acting, slightly incoherent plotting and cheap special effects.

July 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Oregonian

I'm glad to have science fiction back in the forefront in 2009 but that doesn't mean they're all going to work. Consider Sleep Dealer a near-miss.

June 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Retriever
Movie Retriever

Writer-director Alex Rivera crafts a smart, lean and engaging science fiction opus that proves you only need a little money if you have a lot of ideas.

April 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Sci Fi Wire
Sci Fi Wire

Occasionally shaky effects are the biggest drawback in a mostly smart sci-fi cautionary tale.

April 16, 2009 Full Review Source: E! Online
E! Online

A jumbled vision ... too many predictable lines like, 'Sometimes you control the machine, and sometimes the machine controls you.'

April 16, 2009 Full Review Source:

This inventive indie sci-fi movie has plenty of big ideas to make up for its small budget.

April 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Modest sci-fi entry out of Mexico %u2013 about the ultimate offshore labor force - shows impressive vision but lacks the story to keep it going.

April 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

Sleep Dealer should have something striking to say about what the future looks like according to the third-world workers that are building it at their own expense but it has nothing memorable nor particularly coherent to offer.

April 15, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Press
New York Press

Culminates in an unconvincing finale whose hopefulness seems not only fanciful but, when viewed on the story's own terms, woefully short-sighted.

April 15, 2009 Full Review Source: The Screengrab | Comments (2)
The Screengrab

Audience Reviews for Sleep Dealer

Other than a few cheesy special effects... this was a really good story about a guy willing to really do all he can to help his family and a stranger willing to try correct an injustice. It is a future I can see becoming a reality and I hope their are still people with good hearts in a jaded day.
November 29, 2010

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]In "Sleep Dealer," Memo(Luis Fernando Pena) lives in an arid section of Mexico where he and his father(Jose Concepcion Macias) have to now pay for water which was once free for the taking because of a new dam built by a multinational corporation. In his spare time, Memo is an amateur hacker and accidentally accesses a military channel which brings down the wrath of the military and reality television, and his father is killed by a remotely controlled military drone. Having no reason to stay, he travels to Tijuana to seek his fortune. Along the way, he meets Luz(Leonor Varela), a writer, who sells her memories on line through a series of nodes installed on her body. The nodes also allow for workers to work remotely from Tijuana since the border was closed, projecting themselves into other countries.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Set in a remarkably familiar-looking near future, "Sleep Dealer" is an intelligent allegory about the modern world, focusing on themes of globalization and the war on error. This is what science fiction should be about, more ideas than just the empty spectacles we will be subjected in weeks to come. It just goes to prove that what happens in plain sight can be scarier than any grand conspiracy we can ever dream up. Regrettably, the ending is a little too predictable and audience pleasing, though. [/font]
April 26, 2009
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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