RFF18: Dream Scenario

Kristoffer Borgli delivers a convincing dark comedy on the paradox of the everyman

I don’t know exactly when, but at a certain point in his career Nicolas Cage became a human meme. His face ended up everywhere on the internet, with people making fun of him for apparently no reason. He still has many die-hard fans, and he has always been ironic enough to laugh at himself with everyone else (in a 2013 interview with The Guardian he said: “If you cant beat em, join em.”).

Like it or not, Cage is an Oscar-winning actor who still works a lot. Sometimes, he accepts debatable roles, but he also ends up acting in very entertaining films, like Dream Scenario, by Kristoffer Borgli. For the Norwegian director, this is the first English-language film, an interesting comedy that features in the Grand Public section of the Rome Film Fest.

As the title suggests, the film is about the dreamlike dimension in all its glory. Cage plays Paul Matthews, an unremarkable college professor with many unrealized projects. Even his wife and his two daughters see him as an ordinary man. Then something strange happens: Paul starts appearing in other peoples’ dreams. In most of them, he is just strolling around, harmless, witnessing extreme situations without doing anything. 

Paul soon becomes a celebrity, and he tries to take advantage of the situation to make his dreams come true. But how long can he handle fame? And what if these strange dreams become violent nightmares, spreading around the globe? 

Dream Scenario is a convincing dark comedy on the paradox of the everyman and gives Nicolas Cage a memorable role after many years: a good but pathetic man, who becomes viral against his will and who has no power over other peoples’ minds. Even if costumes and makeup help, Paul’s credibility is all of Cage’s work. The cast also features Julianne Nicholson, Michael Cera, Lily Bird, and Jessica Clement. 

The film explores the dreamlike world from a contemporary perspective, steals some elements from the thriller and horror genres, and two “Davids” (Lynch and Fincher) seem to be the inspirations for some scenes.

Dream Scenario is fun and disturbing in a delightful way, and viewers will appreciate its unpredictability. 



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