Review, Dream Scenario by James Ellis

 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Dir: Kristoffer Borgil. Certificate 15, 102 mins

I’ve always loved to hear what other people’s dreams are. Most might retreat from the idea, yet you can learn a lot from their weird symbolism. But…what if. Imagine this. One man keeps appearing in a lot of people’s dream? You’re gobsmacked.

In keeping with Nicholas Cage’s delightful and whacky recent film choices, Dream Scenario harks back to his more subtle days. He plays Prof. Paul Matthews an expect on ant behaviour. Out of the blue, he begins to appear in dreams of the people around him, family, friends, even his students. What starts off as local celebrity and good natured fun, quickly turns sinister, as the dreams see him enage in acts of violence and sexual abuse. He is swiftly cancelled and the scraps of fame are eaten up, as everything falls apart around him. 

Cage is perfect here. He takes on the serious pedagogue extremely well, not arrogant, more awkward and set in his ways. It is a royal offering. His wife, Janet is a angular Julianne Nicholson,  who does passive aggressiveness masterfully, many moments stood out. Child actors as their children’s fair well: Molly and Sophie from Dylan Gelula and Lily Bird perform the delight, then digest over the whole experience. Michael Cera who is back on top form as Trent, typical word salad spewing, new-age PR sort. Even Cosuin Greg from Succession, Nicholas Braun gets a cameo as Brian Berg, smug inventor of a dream device not to dissimilar from an idea seen in Futurama.

It was fun, you go along with the journey like Cage. The inevitability of the story could only end in cancel culture, as things often do today. Some stylised editing is of note, aggressive flashes and jumps are seen throughout. The dream sequences themselves are noteworthy, for their vividness and surrealness. There is something to say about how things are today. There is even more to say about representation and ownership, amongst other meaty themes. It ended in an odd way, though not to its detriment. We don’t quite know just how Paul got out of this pickle and the final scene is a play on his wifes quirky sexual fantasy.

See it and go dream some more…

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