Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Kristoffer Borgli.
Starring Nicolas Cage, Julianne Nicholson, Michael Cera.
Comedy, US, 102 minutes, certificate 15.


Released in cinemas in the UK 10th November by Entertainment.


“Have you been dreaming about me?” asks university lecturer Paul Matthews of his confused, bemused boss. An odd question perhaps, but one that soon becomes relevant to the rest of the world as Paul starts wandering aimlessly through the dreams of complete strangers across the globe. Frustrated with his career Paul grabs onto his new found fame thinking it could jump start his career and dreams of getting published but instead becomes infamous as the dreams start to take a darker, more sinister turn.


Has there been any actor used in more internet memes, gifs, etc than Nicolas Cage? It is a relevant question as his character here can be seen as a kind of meta-commentary on the nature of 21st century fame that has become more and more prevalent thanks to the use of the internet and social media. There seems to be a kind of glee taken in portraying the character of Paul Matthews, not only by Cage but by writer and director Kristoffer Borgli, who tackles the subject head on in a blackly comic, satirical way showing that even subjects of a metaphysical nature are not safe from the likes of cancel culture.


Borgli stirs in this aspect seamlessly to a darkly funny film that has flashes of pure horror in the numerous dream sequences, even before Cage’s genial doofus suddenly takes a turn for the worst in the dreams of the people who were all too happy to raise him up to the heights of digital fame and now take a great amount of glee in tearing him down. Produced by Ari Aster, the film also has a streak of unbridled anxiety running throughout that spills out into a kind of full blown panic that is reminiscent of this years BEAU IS AFRAID, another film that traded in often horrific nightmare energy and imagery.


Long time fans of Cage will be delighted that this is one of his more fully engaged performances where he really gets to grips with the material and the character he portrays here. His undervalued, nervy academic is reminiscent of his portrayal of Charlie Kaufman in ADAPTATION and every bit as funny. Whether wandering or stomping through various dreams and nightmares or attempting to control his public image, Cage gives a performance that has the viewer sympathising and cringing simultaneously as he attempts to come to terms with the all too public reckoning that heats up more and more as the film continues to a quietly devastating closing.


A surreal, horror tinged dark comedy with Nicolas Cage sounds too good to be true but that is exactly what we get here. Thankfully this continues the trend of the uptick in quality films that Cage has taken on in recent years between the number of unmemorable DTV flicks that once threatened to doom him to the status of an actor just as famous for memes as his actual work. DREAM SCENARIO has no danger of falling into that camp and will no doubt be recognised as one of his more substantial roles of recent times as well as an exciting English language debut for Kristoffer Borgli.


Iain MacLeod.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans