TO DREAM follows the story of Luke (Ed Hayter) and Tommy (Freddie Thorp), a pair of high school dropouts desperate to escape their small corner of London and move to America, where they believe a better future awaits them. Along the way, however, they must contend with abusive parents, violent gangs, and their own increasingly complicated relationship.
It’s a stark, unrelenting tale, but it’s precisely because of this unflinching attitude that director Nicole Albarelli is able to imbue the film with so much heart. This is most notable through the friendship that evolves between the two leads. Luke and Tommy’s relationship is pure yet complex, at once deeply loyal and undeniably explosive. In a word: believable. This is aided, in no small part, by the excellent chemistry between the two lead actors. Special mention must be given to Freddie Thorp, however, who effortlessly embodies Tommy’s raw, bristling aggression, without ever losing sight of the deep insecurity it stems from. It’s a balancing act that could easily go wrong, but Thorp manages to hold it steady until the very end.
TO DREAM is Albarelli’s first feature, and builds on many of the themes present in her critically acclaimed short, TRASH, taking them to soaring – and occasionally brutal – new heights. Stark, saturated colours and recurring locations perfectly reflect the sense of hometown claustrophobia that drives so much of the plot, while the synth-infused score fluctuates between pounding, aggressive bass and ambient, melancholic melodies – informing the action, but never overtaking it.
Through it all, one thing is clear: Albarelli knows how to build tension. Fortunately, she also knows how to pay it off in vicious style, effortlessly weaving the various story strands together into a finale that defies anyone not to be thinking about it long after the credits roll.
With an impressive young cast and some genuinely surprising twists, TO DREAM is a tightly plotted and emotionally charged debut that refuses to pull any punches.
TO DREAM will be available on DVD and Digital Platforms in the UK on December 18th.