Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Dream Scenario is Nic Cage at his best

Nicolas Cage teams up with director Kristófer K. Borgli for the trippy comedic drama Dream Scenario, produced by A24. Paul Matthews (Cage) is an unfortunate family man and professor living with his wife Janet (Julianne Nicholson) and daughters Sophie (Lily Bird) and Hannah (Jessica Clement) amid the bane of his existence.One day, he runs into Claire, a journalist ex-girlfriend who tells him he’s been in her dreams.

Sensing a hot story, Clarie asks Paul to write about him, but he soon finds his life turned upside down when millions of strangers suddenly start seeing him in their dreams. Everything is going well with Paul’s newfound stardom until his nighttime appearances take a nightmarish turn, and Paul learns that fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I hadn’t seen any of the director’s previous two films, so I went into the movie as a fan of Mr. “Nouveau Shamanic.” In 2023 alone, Cage portrayed Dracula, a cowboy, a killer, Superman, and a retired hitman. For his latest film, Cage somewhat plays it straight as an educated man who wants more out of life.

In the film, Paul is an anonymous professor who is ignored by his students and unable to prevent a colleague from stealing his idea. He becomes famous but proves incapable of managing it, suffering from it instead. The actor effectively portrays the problematic transformation of Paul’s character from moderation to uncontrolled intoxication. The character reflects Nicolas Cage, who has become a living meme and pop icon.

In this film, the director skillfully presents a clever allegory that explores the elusive nature of fame and the perils of social media. The director intends to create a thought-provoking narrative that highlights how social media can quickly elevate an individual to the status of an icon, only to subject them to the harshest scrutiny and ridicule. The film portrays these themes amusingly and entertainingly, making it accessible to even those not well-versed in cinema.

The film’s supporting cast all fall into typical caricatures a movie of this sort requires. Michael Cera, Dylan Baker, and Tim Meadows all show up in somewhat extended cameo roles as figures In Paul’s life, and Cage has a good relationship with all of them. I also liked the scenes with Julianne’s Nicholson character as his wife.

The movie delves deep into the complex ideas surrounding our perception of modern life and the imagined expectations that we often hold. The director’s decision to avoid excessive use of dream sequences and special effects for commercial appeal is commendable. While some viewers may find the plot difficult to follow, Cage’s performance is exceptional, making it a must-see for anyone looking for a captivating cinematic experience.

Final Grade: B+

Dream Scenario is in theaters now.

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Dream Scenario is Nic Cage at his best