Intriguing and bizarre. That best describes Nicholas Cage’s latest offering as a nondescript tenured professor who becomes an overnight viral sensation.
Cage plays balding and bespectacled evolutionary biology lecturer Paul Matthews.
Matthews is passionate about his chosen area, but struggles to attract the same interest from his students.
He resents the fact that a former classmate has muscled in on a theory he propagated and that she is about to be published in prestigious Nature magazine.
Matthews always thought he had a book in him, but hasn’t started writing it.
Married to Janet (Julianne Nicholson), the pair has two school age daughters – Hannah (Jessica Clement) and Greta (Star Slade).
Suddenly, Matthews starts appearing in regular dreams had by his students, colleagues and associates – even a former girlfriend.
In these, the dreamers are inevitably seen in invidious circumstances and Matthews walks into frame, but fails to help them.
Word of this bizarre happening spreads rapidly and even more see him in their dreams.
Suddenly, Matthews’ classes are filled with inquisitive students and he finds global fame.
Seemingly, everyone wants to see him, meet him and know him.
Even his wife’s boss gives her a leg up, while his younger daughter wants him to drive her to school.
Nobody, least of all him, can explain how or why he appears so frequently in others’ subconsciouses.
That matters nought, as a new age marketing agency is looking to cash in.
And then the script flips and Matthews newly found picture perfect life goes into free fall.
I was totally captivated by the first half of Dream Scenario.
I wished the loopy premise could somehow be true.
I appreciated that an otherwise grounded everyday man could find himself in the limelight.
Writer and director Kristoffer Borgli has done well establishing Matthews’ family and workday dynamic.
Nick Cage and Julianne Nicholson are credible and compelling as husband and wife, replete with insecurities.
The opening scene, which propels the narrative, is eye-catching.
So far, so good … and then we move to the dark side.
Though I can buy into, even applaud, the twist, the filmmaker takes a dive off the 10-metre platform and don’t quite land the entry point.
In other words, I felt that he pushed and pushed and pushed in an endeavour to score big.
As a result, the film compromised some of the credibility it had established.
That’s not to say, the run home didn’t have its moments, for it most certainly did.
In fact, there are still a number of memorable scenes, only that some of the traction was lost, as the previously well measured time frame was hastened.
Nevertheless, this darkly comedic psychological horror film retains plenty of bite and is well worth a look.
Rated MA, it scores a 7½ out of 10.