I recall seeing the trailers for “Dream Scenario” and being utterly perplexed. The plot was not in any way clear. But I’m happy to say that it is one of the most fascinating films of the year. Nicholas Cage continues his hot streak as Paul Matthews, a family man who works as a professor at the local university. Out of nowhere, millions of people start to seeing him in their dreams. He is confused with his appearances as he is mostly a passive observer. He quickly becomes a celebrity around the world. But his high-profile status quickly turns nightmarish, as he is forced to confront his newfound stardom and make difficult choices to counter this phenomenon.
“Dream Scenario” is the kind of bonkers A24 film that is as strange as it is entertaining. I had a blast with this movie, pondering the many ideas it brought to light. I can truly say I’ve never seen a film with such a unique blend of tones that work so well with one another. Some of the film is dramatic, while other portions are hilarious. But there are occasions where the material is horrifying. I could not have predicted where the story would end up by the conclusion. I love that there were so many twists and turns throughout. I admire the creativity that the filmmakers displayed because a story this unique is satisfying for a film fan like me. Everything about the film is weird, but in the best way possible!
Nicholas Cage gives such satisfying performance. He often fluctuates between being humorous, distressed, angry, sad, and more. It’s impressive he was able to craft such a unique character that goes on such an unusual journey throughout the film. I loved every second he was basking in the absurdity of this role. But the unexpected subject matter is what really impressed me. Ideas like overnight fame and cancel culture are explored in a way that is thought provoking and creative. Since Paul is such an average guy, his life is dramatically altered through these strange encounters in people’s dreams. The story doesn’t spell everything out for the audience, but rather challenges our idea of celebrities and how social media can influence one’s perception in the public. There are so many timely ideas that are explored through Paul’s experience. We really have to pay attention and observe what is happening as the line between reality and fiction is often blurred. I won’t say too much because experiencing the film will be worth it.
There wasn’t much about “Dream Scenario” I disliked. But I would caution audience members who are leery of strange films. I would not recommend it to those who dislike stories that require a second viewing to understand everything. There are many circumstances that metaphorical explanations of the subject matter outweigh a clear answer. Lots will be up to the viewer to decide. I could see groups watching the film together have polarizing reactions at the film’s end. I love that “Dream Scenario” does this, but it might be too much for some.
There are certain sequences in the movie that get weird just for the sake of being weird. They didn’t serve the plot to a degree that a less wonky approach would have. But the story is so strange that it works somehow. There are parts of the dream sequences that could have been clearer. I’m glad they weren’t spoon-fed to us, but being too ambiguous can also hurt the strength of the ideas at hand.
What could have been an idea that failed with its ambition ends up being a stroke of genius. “Dream Scenario” is one of the most thought-provoking movies of the year and manages to surprise audiences at every turn. Nicholas Cage turns in a memorable performance that hinges on his ability to convey many different emotions. I highly recommend checking this out as it will be one of the most unique experiences at the movies one could hope for. Have I mentioned the movie is weird? Ha!