Writer-director Kristoffer Borgli (best known for Sick of Myself) and producer Ari Aster present a dark comedy highlighting the absurdity of modern phenomenons, such as cancel culture, internet fame and the urge to monetise everything. Dream Scenario stars Nicolas Cage, who seems to be having a career revival following the critically approved Pig in 2021 and last year’s action comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, which saw the Hollywood star make fun of his own career and persona.
Average in every way, Paul Matthews (Cage) is a zoology professor and a family man whose ambition of publishing a groundbreaking study on ants is slowly fading away. His monotonous life is shaken up by a bizarre occurrence: people all over the nation start seeing him in their dreams, which turns him into an overnight celebrity. The way he handles this newfound fame is awkward at best, but things get much more complicated when the dreams of the masses start turning into nightmares, and he is just as suddenly repudiated as he was initially exalted.
A tragicomedy of the times, Dream Scenario questions society’s tendency to create heroes and then tear them down on a seemingly arbitrary basis. An everyman at the mercy of the fickle general public, Paul Matthews is proof that no one is safe from the unpredictable mechanics of passing trends and cancel culture. Borgli’s use of dreams and the subconscious is likely a metaphor for the way digital media and the virtual dimension of the internet imperceptibly influence our minds, particularly via social media. Poking fun at the “snowflake” generation that, according to the protagonist, labels every life inconvenience as a trauma, the film imagines how an entire nation could easily get sucked into any belief, trend or way of thinking en masse without questioning its purport or consequences.
Dream Scenario blends different genres, with surrealism, comedy and horror converging into one admonitory social commentary. Some key plot questions remain unanswered as the focus shifts towards the overall message, but the movie manages to be entertaining and thought-provoking throughout.
Dream Scenario is released nationwide on 10th November 2023.
Watch the trailer for Dream Scenario here: