Home » Now Playing » Dream Scenario

Dream Scenario

The premise of Kristoffer Borgli’s DREAM SCENARIO had me hooked from the jump.  Mild-mannered college professor Paul Matthews (the perfectly cast Nicolas Cage) is about as unextraordinary as it gets. His biggest goal in life is to get his book published, but before that can happen, he actually needs to sit down and write the thing. The students in his class are largely disinterested with what he has to say, and his children would rather look at their phones during dinner than converse with him.  

All that changes when overnight, he becomes the most interesting person in the entire world. 

Out of nowhere, Paul starts showing up in the dreams of friends, relatives, acquaintances, and strangers alike. What begins with a couple of people staring at him evolves into a full-blown cultural phenomenon as people around the globe all begin seeing the innocuous professor when they go to sleep. He is elated with the attention that follows, eager to hear what heroic and daring deeds he is executing within the sleep realm. To his mild disappointment, he pretty much does nothing. He’s usually just standing there, or walking by casually, but never seems to be actively involved in what is unfolding.  

Paul goes from a life of anonymity to that of a star, and he looks to capitalize on this fame to finally add a little spice to his life and maybe even publish his book. Like many viral sensations, however, life at the top doesn’t last long. Soon, the tone of the dreams starts to shift, and Paul’s taste of fame becomes very, very bitter.

DREAM SCENARIO is the perfect vehicle for Cage. The mere fact that a Cage character is presented as boring is hilarious in itself, but his portrayal of Paul truly is remarkable.  Despite knowing full-well that the bombastic performer is anything but boring, with his bald patch, grey beard, and poor posture, he immediately becomes Paul. He’s a guy who seems to be loved by his wife (Julianne Nicholson) but somewhat invisible to everyone else. Cage nails this with an ease that showcases his considerable talent, knowing full-well that this flies in the face of everything we know. Paul pretends to be humble as the world becomes obsessed with him, but deep down, basks in the glow of the limelight he has always wanted. 

As things begin to take a turn for the worse and the dreams dissolve into nightmares, the film takes the dark turn we knew was coming all along. In these moments we see flashes of the maniacal Nicolas Cage we have grown accustomed to. These sequences are both welcome and hilarious, as fleeting as they are. For Paul, however, it’s another letdown in a life that has been full of them. As he desperately tries to hold onto his waning celebrity status, his life comes crashing down around him, threatening to obliterate the mundane existence he used to have. Bad decisions lead to worse decisions, and Paul only gets in his own way when the freefall begins.  

DREAM SCENARIO presents a number of phenomenal questions and heavy ideas, and if you’re looking for straight forward answers, you are going to be sorely disappointed. This isn’t that type of movie. It does, however, deliver a number of laughs and is worth seeing for Cage’s performance alone.



RUN TIME: 1h 42min 

GENRE: Comedy, Horror 

STARRING:  Nicolas Cage, Lily Bird, Julianne Nicholson 

DIRECTOR: Kristoffer Borgli

Writer:  Kristoffer Borgli 

Now steaming on Max and playing in select theaters. 

Brian Miller