- James Spader as Ray Reardon
- Mädchen Amick as Lena Matthers-Reardon
It may not be the best thriller to be found out there, due to bits of incoherence and awkward pacing, but Dream Lover delivers enough drama and a few good twists to form a noir like tale of deception and the nature of trust.
Ray Reardon is a wealthy architect who as the movie opens is getting a divorce from his wife after their relationship soured. Although his friends to set him up with other people, none of it works as he believes in a sense of stability to romance and possibly marriage. That is until he bumps quite literally into Lena Matthers, a beautiful women who berates him for his clumsiness. A week later, he meets her again and she apologizes for her behaviour towards him and from that moment Ray is besotted with her. An intense passionate relationship begins between them and after a very brief courtship the two of them are married. Everything seems to be so idyllic for Ray as he sees Lena as the woman of his dreams and he appears to have found happiness. But the bubble is about to burst as various incidents and inconsistencies regarding Lena and her past begin to make Ray doubt his wife and what she may be up to. As he digs deeper into the mystery regarding his wife and her past, it becomes abundantly clear that Lena is far from the woman he married and is a scheming seductress. But is Ray’s slipping into paranoia playing into Lena’s dirty hands? And what is her ultimate plan for her betrayed husband? Without spoiling anything, I’ll say that it’s not anything rosy and pleasant.
Director Nicholas Kazan clearly has fun bringing mystery and noirish angles to the film and for the most parts sets events up with skill. He shows the initial chance meeting( or is it?) between the two main characters and showcases Lena’s spellbinding impact on Ray that masks a darker purpose. Kudos must be given for the foreshadowing that something about Lena isn’t right, but how Ray is too in love with her and too high on passion to notice at first. It’s when the set up has been done and events begin to go a bit slow that Dream Lover begins to falter. At times it borders on lethargic, yet the turns of the story keep it intriguing enough to view as Roy sees that he really doesn’t know his wife at all or what she is capable of. If you can ignore the plot holes and jumps in logic that sometimes rear their head, Dream Lover is a well done thriller. A deceptive score crafts and evokes mystery and sinister intentions as Dream Lover continues on with its dark and seductive story.
James Spader is ideally suited to the role of Ray, who is awkward but a decent man coming to see that what he knows about his wife is a lie. Spader plays the part very well with a mix of enchanted blindness and eventually shock at seeing that Lena is a wicked lady who has led him up the garden path. Mädchen Amick, with her pouting lips and sensual aura, is excellent casting for the part of Lena, who is shown to be a deceptive liar who can spin a web of deceit in a minute, but thanks to Amick, still has tinges of mystery regarding her ultimate goal and games for her husband. Amick is someone the camera loves and it shows here, but her acting is equally as good as the veneer of allure is slowly pulled away and her dark true colours come to the table.
My advice when watching Dream Lover is to not poke for holes in the logic( because it isn’t the movie’s strongest suit) and don’t expect a masterpiece. It’s not a thriller for the ages, but it’s a good enough way to spend an hour or two as the story of a wicked woman and her mysterious plans for her poor unsuspecting spouse unravel.