(By Eric D. Snider - reposted from 1/28/08 Sundance Festival review)
In the future, our immigration problems will be solved by having Mexicans do their menial work with remote-controlled robots. We'll get our cheap labor, and the Mexicans will stay on their side of the border.
That's according to Sleep Dealer, which makes the suggestion satirically, of course. Set in the near future, the film is loaded with interesting sci-fi concepts but suffers in the execution of them. It falls back on too many clichés and spends too much time on an uninteresting subplot -- problems that could have been avoided if the film weren't so focused on presenting its nifty futuristic quirks.
Our hero is Memo (Luis Fernando Peña), a young man in an arid Mexican village that was ruined several years ago when a water company dammed up the river. In this world, private companies control the water and charge ridiculous prices for it, protected and enabled by the U.S. government. Also in this world, the Internet has expanded to such a degree that you can have nodes implanted into your arms and neck and plug directly into the Information Superhighway. Once you're connected, you can upload your memories and broadcast or sell them a la YouTube.