‘Imperial Dreams’ and The Rise of John Boyega
Netflix has produced its fair share of great content in the last couple of years. From shows such as Daredevil, Luke Cage, Stranger Things, and Black Mirror to movies such as Spectre and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny. And as you’ve likely experienced, they’ve been MUCH more successful in long form storytelling.
They’ve decided to change directions though and make a push for better original movie content. So they went to the best place for groundbreaking, relevant films that get no commercial traction – Sundance. At the Sundance Film Festival, dozens of movies are shown every year looking for critical acclaim and distribution. Netflix has decided that their platform would be perfect for some of the better projects to come out of the festival (and I would agree).
One such project called Imperial Dreams. It debuted at the 2014 Festival and is 86% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. It stars a pre-Star Wars John Boyega as a young father who is released from jail and has to find a way to earn a living and raise his son while escaping the only life he’s ever known. In a system that’s flawed and an environment (Watts, L.A.) that is not conducive to nurture.
It’s been hailed by critics as being a “piercingly analytical view of the American way of incarceration.” The trailer is heartbreaking. As a father of a young boy, I can’t imagine the struggle faced by someone who was still trying to break free from their past while raising their kids. Thankfully God brought me out of the dirt I was into long before my son came along.
While this movie may not have had the juice in 2014, Boyega is now part of the largest film franchise on Earth and in the upcoming sequel to Pacific Rim. My expectation (and the buzz from 2014’s Sundance) is that this is another in a line of strong performances from this talented young actor. There is a struggle that exists when responsibility meets those who have limited resources. Thank God though that love transcends circumstance.
Imperial Dreams hits Netflix Friday, February 3.