This one was a random choice I made after digging through the piles of Netflix movies that I’d either already seen, didn’t have any desire to see or just weren’t in the mood to see. When I read the synopsis, I figured ‘what the heck?’ and hit play. Turns out, this movie was much more than I expected. From the way it was described I was expected some sub-par wanna-be science fiction film about people being slaves to the internet while working in the factories for a fix. That was a little bit what the movie was about, but there were many more layers to it than just that.
Sleep Dealer is really a film about social injustice in Mexico. The main character, Memo, lives in a traditional part of Mexico that has been suffering due to modern progress. Water has been privatized and those who wish to enjoy a drink or water their crops have to pay exorbitant amounts of money for the privilege. Those who attempt to steal the water are labeled ‘aqua terrorists’ and are blown to pieces via remote-controlled drones. These drones happen to be operated by people back in the US, as part of their work-a-day job.
Memo eventually makes his way to the city, where he gets ‘nodes’ implanted into his body so he can wire up to the network and sell his labor as a controller of robots on a construction site. The movie takes cheap Mexican labor to the next level, with the US getting the inexpensive workers they require while still managing to keep the immigrants in their own country.
There are many bits of social commentary in this film that reflect an outgrowth of the current situation between the US and Mexico. The countries get rich, especially the US, and the common people suffer and are forced to risk their lives and sanity in order to just barely survive.
Don’t turn this one on expecting science fiction aliens and technologies or exciting chases and action. This is a thinking movie, so if you’re going to watch it, expect to have your mind full by the time it’s over. I highly recommend it to anyone who takes an interest in sociology, politics or just human beings in general.