Critic's Pick

'Sleep Dealer' a sci-fi sleeper

Alex Rivera's striking 2009 sci-fi film 'Sleep Dealer' seems more impressive now than ever

Some films seem increasingly impressive as time goes on, and one of those is Alex Rivera's striking "Sleep Dealer" (2009), which won twice at Sundance, taking the Waldo Salt screenwriting award and the Alfred P. Sloan Prize for a film dealing with science.

Adventurous, ambitious and ingeniously futuristic, this beautifully shot film is a welcome surprise. By choosing to work with veteran cinematographer Lisa Rinzler, Rivera has been able to combine visually arresting science fiction with a strong sense of social commentary in a way few films attempt, let alone achieve. Even more impressive, it was done on an indie-film budget.

Playing Aug. 1 through Aug. 7 at the Downtown Independent, 251 S. Main, Los Angeles. (213) 617-1033

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