Anyway, just the other day, I finally saw David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" (2001), a film which may be entirely a dream. It's a stunningly beautiful and engaging movie, but ultimately has very little in the way of a coherent plot. To the extent the plot can be followed, it completely unwinds in the final 30 minutes of the film. I tend to think that the film is being told from the point of view of Naomi Watts' character Diane Selwyn, largely in the form of self-serving fantasies, erotic dreams, and nightmares, as she recalls her experiences since arriving in L.A. At any rate, as frustrating as this may be as a film, it strikes me as a pretty solid depiction of dreams, which are incoherent, unreliable, terrifying, and thrilling.
All this has me thinking more about "Dreamscape" (1984), a reasonably compelling sci-fi thriller. If you haven't seen it, it's about a man (played by Dennis Quaid) who can enter the dreams of other people and help them overcome their fears. And there's a rival (David Patrick Kelly, playing the same sort of nutjob he played in "Warriors" (1979), only this time with psychic powers), who can also enter people's dreams, but does so to kill them, which, it turns out, kills them in real life. They end up fighting each other in the dreams of the president of the United States (Eddie Albert), whom Kelly is trying to assassinate.
Although the film comes off as relatively typical action fare, it has some unusual twists. (For example, Eddie Albert is introduced as a widower suffering nightmares associated with nuclear war; we don't learn until later that he's the president.) And the dreams, in particular, actually look a bit like dreams. They contain haunting images and emotions, and usually aren't heavy on plot. The president's dreams are quite terrifying, as I recall -- particularly one showing a post-nuclear ghost town filled with the angry whispers of wounded children that ultimately become indistinguishable from an air raid siren.
What other good dream films are out there?