Dream Scenario

Dream Scenario, 2023, 4 ¼ stars

Dream a little dream of me

Nicolas Cage will stalk your sleep

Exclusive to MeierMovies, December 1, 2023

I dreamed about Nicolas Cage last night. Well, not specifically Cage, but Professor Paul Matthews, his character in the new fantasy-dramedy, Dream Scenario, which I had just watched twice, back to back, enraptured with its smart premise and almost equally intelligent execution.

The dream was a spectacular example of life imitating art because, in the movie, Matthews inexplicably turns up in the dreams of thousands, perhaps millions, of random strangers around the world. This phenomenon makes Matthews a cultural icon, then a pariah, when the dreams turn to nightmares.

Dream Scenario is just the third feature from Norwegian filmmaker Kristoffer Borgli, but it shows a remarkable maturity and imagination. Powered by Cage’s best performance in years and managing its mood shifts with dexterity, Dream is irresistible and easily one of the best films of 2023.

Offering fine support is Julianne Nicholson as Paul’s wife, Dylan Gelula as a business associate whose own dreams of Paul shape their oddly hilarious relationship, Michael Cera as head of a company wishing to take advantage of Paul’s celebrity and Tim Meadows as Paul’s boss, a so-called friend who, like today’s society, is more than willing to drop his mate at the first hint of scandal.

Borgli’s film, not surprisingly, has a lot of surreal stuff to say about dreams. The movie might even make you rethink your own, much like Christopher Nolan’s Inception did for many, this reviewer included. But at its core, the film is a commentary on cancel culture and herd mentality. Using Paul as a metaphor, Borgli shows what happens when unfounded fears run amok and we pass judgment on people based on events that are entirely manufactured by our own hippocampus. And most impressively, Dream does all this while remaining wickedly funny.

They say Hollywood is the stuff dreams are made of. For me, for at least one night, that was more than a metaphor. So see Dream Scenario. Then go to sleep. Maybe Cage will visit you too.

© 2023 MeierMovies, LLC

For more information about this movie, visit IMDB and Wikipedia. It is currently screening in theaters.