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Scarecrow on Seattle: BUTTERFLY DREAMING






Every month, Scarecrow Video reviews a film made in the Pacific Northwest for the Seattle Office of Film + Music's e-newsletter.


Butterfly Dreaming (2008)

Andrew Bowen is Rob Pollack, a smart guy with bad dreams. As a matter of fact his dreams are so powerful they begin to overtake his conscious life. Butterfly Dreaming is structured to confound viewers and immerse us in Rob’s hallucinatory existence as comes to terms with both the loss of his spouse and his tenuous grasp on reality. His problems start after he’s in a bad car crash that kills his wife. Before the accident there were plenty of marital problems--Rob lost a lot of money gambling online and had an affair with a woman named Tess (Missy Crider). Katrina Pollack (Kristen Manning) was aware of her husband’s dalliances but refused to grant him a divorce. Maybe it was an “accidental” fatality and Rob’s guilty subconscious is smothering his memories of the murder? But Rob doesn’t seem like the kid of dude who’d kill his wife, and the cops clear him of any charges. As a matter of fact Rob and Katrina were attempting to patch up their estranged relationship with an enjoyable trip to an Eastern Washington winery when the deadly car crash happened. After the wreck, Rob’s reality is overtaken by a confusing blur of dreams, nightmares and strange visions. Visits to an offbeat psychiatrist, played by veteran actor James McDaniel (probably best known for his stint on NYPD Blue), don’t help, and Rob regularly encounters a weird cop (portrayed by hard-working local actor Tony Doupe) who may be a figment of his imagination. Adding to the mystery is the fact that it seems like somebody may have purposefully rear-ended the Pollackmobile, causing the fatal wreck.


The Pollack’s home address is given as 6009 SW Admiral Way and that may be the actual address of the West Seattle location used by the filmmakers. Both the interior and exterior of the house is very “Seattle” and there’s the very “us” detail that Katrina is an urban chicken farmer. Rob takes several strolls around town that lead him through both Discovery and Magnuson Parks. He meets up for a beer with friends at a bar that I didn’t initially recognize but it is identified as the College Inn Pub during the end credits. For the film the venerable University District institution is brightly lit for cameras and, consequently, looks like an entirely different place. During their winery road trip the Pollacks stop at the Bryant General Store in Arlington for some gas and snacks. The winery itself is the Hedges Family Estate in Benton City, just outside the Tri Cities.


Butterfly Dreaming attempts a surreal narrative a la David Lynch but the director doesn’t quite have the chops to pull it off, and the climax lacks an emotional punch. Still, there is enough weirdness in this modest thriller to please viewers inclined towards such films with the added bonus of seeing not only lots of Seattle but some prime locations statewide. –Spenser Hoyt


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