How long does 15 minutes of fame really last? In ‘Dream Scenario,’ Nicolas Cage chases the unfortunate, subsequent reality of becoming a viral sensation. Cage stars as Paul, the most passive human being in all existence. Soon, things change when he begins to make an appearance in people’s dreams.
What follows is a wild, unpredictable plunge into excesses of fame and acerbic assessment of cancel culture. With ‘Dream Scenario,’ Nicolas Cage delivers another career-high performance, playing the everyday loser with refreshing restraint. The film is a surrealistic delight, with Cage firing on all cylinders.
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‘Dream Scenario’ Makes Ordinary Into Extraordinary
For most of us, it’s a late realization that we are living the wrong life. Somewhere else, we’d be king of our castles. Paul Matthews (Nicolas Cage) also fails the sting of failure. He’s trying to float a personal academic project between his tenure and family life. For him, life moves at the same uninteresting pace until one day, when everyone worldwide can’t seem to stop dreaming every day.
Paul becomes a viral sensation as the world seems trapped in a dreaming epidemic. But even at the height of fame, he can’t help but be upset by his passivity in the world’s dreams. After a home invasion, he’s forced to hire a PR firm. The meeting turns out to be bizarre. While Paul wants to drum up more enthusiasm about his passion project, the firm wants him to be in touch with the social media generation.
Soon after, Paul gets together with an intern who reveals her erotic dreams about him. She asks him to participate, to which he obliges. Although Paul gives in, he has to leave after an embarrassing moment. Soon, he lashes out after receiving the news that a colleague has published the book he envisioned.
‘Dream Scenario’ Is An Indictment Of Cancel Culture
Soon, Paul’s presence becomes menacing in the dreams. People, including his family, are terrified around him. In a stroke of misfortune, he loses everything. He tries to reclaim his life with a publicity tour in France, which turns out to be disastrous. He partners with people who pioneer subconscious advertisements to make ends meet.
Ultimately, Nicolas Cage’s character terribly misses his wife as he looks back at the sudden fall from grace. Paul uses the advertisement tech to appear in her dream to have one last moment with her. As discussed earlier in the film, he comes to her in an oversized suit inspired by David Byrne to rescue her. But before he can have a last dance with her, the images fade away as she wakes up.
The film takes the ideas of “collective consciousness” and turns it up several notches for an endlessly entertainment black comedy. With his wonderfully weird ways, Nicolas Cage is the perfect mouthpiece for the message filmmaker Kristoffer Borgli has. ‘Dream Scenario’ is a rapid-fire takedown of social media madness, celebrity worship, and the softening of society due to cancel culture. Some of it works, some doesn’t. But it is, at its core, a stylish, surrealist case of wishful thinking and a cautionary tale.
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