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Definitely a classic relic from the ‘cold war’ era, this 1984 classic stars a very young Dennis Quaid, Eddie Albert, Kate Capshaw, Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer and that “Warriors… come out to play” guy, David Patrick Kelly.
Kate Capshaw, Max von Sydow and Christopher Plummer
Alex Gardner (Dennis Quaid) is a psychic who has been using his talents solely for personal gain, which mainly consists of gambling and womanizing. When he was 19 years old, Alex had been the prime subject of a scientific research project documenting his psychic ability, but in the midst of the study, he disappeared. After running afoul of a local gangster/extortionist named Snead (Redmond Gleeson), Alex evades two of Snead’s thugs by allowing himself to be taken by two men: Finch (Peter Jason) and Babcock (Chris Mulkey), who identify themselves as being from an academic institution.
At the institution, Alex is reunited with his former mentor Dr. Paul Novotny (Max von Sydow) who is now involved in government-funded psychic research. Novotny, aided by fellow scientist Dr. Jane DeVries (Kate Capshaw), has developed a technique that allows psychics to voluntarily link with the minds of others by projecting themselves into the subconscious during REM sleep. Novotny equates the original idea for the dreamscape project to the practice of the Senoi natives of Malaysia, who believe the dream world is just as real as reality.
The project was intended for clinical use to diagnose and treat sleep disorders, particularly nightmares, but it has been hijacked by Bob Blair (Christopher Plummer), a powerful government agent. Novotny convinces Alex to join the program in order to investigate Blair’s intentions. Alex gains experience with the technique by helping a man who is worried about his wife’s infidelity and by treating a young boy named Buddy (Cory Yothers), who is plagued with nightmares so terrible that a previous psychic lost his sanity trying to help him. Buddy’s nightmare involves a large sinister “snake-man.”
A subplot involving Alex and Jane’s growing infatuation culminates with him sneaking into Jane’s dream to have sex with her. He does this without technological aid—something no one else has been able to achieve. With the help of novelist Charlie Prince (George Wendt), who has been covertly investigating the project for a new book, Alex learns that Blair intends to use the dream-linking technique for assassination.
The movie was budgeted for 6 million dollars and did a little over 12 million at the box office
Source: Sal Amato