Dream Scenario (2023)

Dream Scenario (2023)

Nicolas Cage is frighteningly good in this surreal nightmare of a film



United States of America
English, French
Comedy, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction
Agape Mngomezulu, Al Warren, Amber Midthunder
102 min


It’s like a Black Mirror episode, but darker and so much better.

What it's about

When science professor Paul Matthews (Nicolas Cage) starts appearing in everyone’s dreams, he goes from being “a perfectly average and remarkable nobody” to one of the most recognizable, and later on feared, men in the world.

The take

There’s a lot to think about in Dream Scenario, which posits the possibility of collectively seeing the same real man in your dreams. Norwegian filmmaker Kristoffer Borgli drops the painfully ordinary Paul (Cage) in an extraordinary reality to show us how easily one can spiral into insanity, how dangerous groupthink can be, how fickle cancel culture is, and how anything can happen to anyone, even to someone as unsuspecting as Paul. But Borgli doesn’t just experiment with ideas here, he also expertly plays with sounds and transitions, sometimes even cutting a scene before someone is done talking, to capture the skittish and unreliable language of dreams. More impressively, he takes into account how this phenomenon would play in our real, profit-oriented world. The capitalistic urge to make Paul an advertising tool, for instance, or to create tech that makes it possible for others to appear in dreams too, is both uncanny and depressingly realistic. Some might feel that Borgli is biting off more than he can chew but there’s a balance and ease to Dream Scenario that makes it feel inevitable. That’s thanks to Borgli’s brilliant direction but also, in no small part, to Cage’s inspired performance as a pathetic but harmless loser.

What stands out

That recreation of a sexual fantasy someone has of him will haunt me for days.


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