By Keith Walther | Rose Law Group Reporter
Don’t fall asleep on this new Nicolas Cage movie, Oscar might just have a solid contender on its hands. “Dream Scenario” is a creative new comedy that delves into the mystery of quick, worldwide fame and the cancel culture that exists in modern day society. It weaves a dynamically witty plot with a humorously intriguing scenario that beautifully ensnares its audience from start to finish.
Living a perfectly normal, if not bland life of a college professor and family man, Paul Matthews (Nicolas Cage) is as uninteresting and nondescript as anyone can be. That is until he begins showing up in random people’s dreams. What begins as a curious phenomenon quickly becomes an epidemic that spreads across the world, vaulting the self-conscious pushover into instant fame. Suddenly, everyone finds him more interesting, including his wife Janet (Julianne Nicholson).
Seeking to use this newfound celebrity to finally publish a scientific book he’s always dreamed about writing; Paul watches his dream begin to crumble as public opinion starts to shift. Uncontrollably, Paul’s passive observer appearances in people’s dreams change to horror as his dream self violently attacks the dreamer. The traumatic nightmares result in fear and hatred towards his appearance alone, leading to life altering consequences. Helplessly, Paul witnesses his life go up in flames as he deals with the public fallout, losing his job, death threats, and even a family who turns their back on him.
20 years ago is the last time Nicolas Cage was nominated for an Oscar in the movie “Adaptation.” He’s also received one Oscar win for “Leaving Las Vegas” in 1996. He reminds audiences how much talent he has with his performance in “Dream Scenario” that could earn him another nomination. This is a multilayered performance where he’s basically playing three different roles, the hapless professor, the silent observer in dream sequences, and the sadistic predator in nightmare scenes.
Cage does an outstanding job of creating a relatable character whose persona outside of these dreams is flawed with self-consciousness, lack of assertiveness, and paranoia. He has viewers ride the roller coaster of fame from acceptance to dismissal, responding to the various situations in a very human way, drawing upon the audience’s empathy for his character. As Cage has shown in countless other films, his comedic timing is wonderful, creating sudden outbursts of laughter that reverberates through the theater. A dynamic performance that creates both moments of hilarity and heartfelt emotion is one to be recognized.
Norwegian born writer/director Kristoffer Borgli is the mastermind behind “Dream Scenario.” Ari Aster was originally set to direct with Adam Sandler as the star, but the producer allowed Borgli to direct his own screenplay after he received critical acclaim for his film last year, “Sick of Myself.” This turns out to be a great decision as Borgli constructs a fantastically funny film with a story that mocks the current cancel culture society. Inspired by “Adaptation,” he saw Cage as being the perfect fit for this role, and he was absolutely correct. Being the writer, director, and editor allows Borgli the control and freedom to execute his vision all the way from pre-production to post-production. The result is a seamless flow with flawless continuity and perfect pacing. Even if the film does not somehow receive a Best Picture or Best Director nomination, Kristoffer will surely be nominated for Best Original Screenplay.
As November closes with so many disappointments, this film rises to the top as a must see. In a world where social media represents a court of public scrutiny and judgment that results in very real consequences, “Dream Scenario” is a film that shows the absurdity of it all in an entertaining manner. It is imaginative and hilarious, all while making you think and pulling at your heartstrings in a meaningful way.
This movie earns: