Dream Scenario

15 Blu-ray, DVD

There’s a study in science known as the probability theory, that determines how likely an outcome is of a random event, such as how many times you’re likely to roll a six within 12 throws of a die, say.

It’s a theory that could also be used as far as Nicolas Cage films; Cage has an impressive work ethic, and isn’t shy to attach himself to a film project, even though the odds are high that it’s likely to stink, as a large body of his previous work demonstrates.

But as the theory can prove, there are rare opportunities when Cage can actually find himself in a good film. And despite the odds, it’s true here with his latest curiosity.

boom reviews Dream Scenario
What do you mean this film is only a dream?!

Working as a professor with tenure at a university is Paul (Cage). In truth, his academic days are probably behind him, but he’s yet to accept that fact. His work, much like his personality, just doesn’t leave much of an impression.

Sitting at the table one day and his youngest daughter describes a dream she had, which he featured in, but where he didn’t come to her aid, which bugs him.

He then meets an ex, when he and his wife have a night at the theatre, who tells him he also appears in her dreams. You would think these were coincidences, but no, it soon transpires that Paul has appeared in a large number of dreams, making him a bit of a superstar.

It’s something he eventually takes advantage of, but all these dreams soon become his personal nightmare.

boom reviews  Dream Scenario
No really, those are the rules, they who smelt it delt it...

This is director Kristoffer Borgli’s follow-up to his incredibly dark and amusing Sick of Myself, as well as being his first English language film.

The Norwegian’s latest comes across as almost a full-length episode of Black Mirror, as he dives into the dark realm of the subconscious mind. It also has a number of distinct moods; the first being comedic, the second being blacker in tone, with a bittersweet finale.

It could also be construed as almost a Freddy Kruger origin tale, but in a parallel universe, with Cage’s character’s ability to simply turn up in everyone’s dreams. There's even a nod to the character when Cage dons a metallic hand with knives for fingers.

It’s been a while but Cage has finally found not only a script, but a director who knows how to get the best out of his quirky nature with an equally quirky character and a suitably bonkers script. He gets to possess the body of a humdrum man as he goes on this most peculiar journey, which you know Cage would have lapped up.

Borgli’s direction struggles with a few minor issues however, especially the way he changes dramatic gears and some pacing issues, but he continues to prove be an exciting and innovative talent and prospect for the future, with a feature that definitely fits in with A24’s current kooky portfolio.

For a while there, it looked like Cage was going to single-handedly defeat the theory of probability with the world’s longest wrong of terrible films, which really makes this absorbing and darkly comical film the stuff of dreams. What a stroke of luck.

we give this four out of five