THE ITHACAN

Accuracy • Independence • Integrity
The Student News Site of Ithaca College

THE ITHACAN

The Student News Site of Ithaca College

THE ITHACAN

Support Us
$1670
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support The Ithacan's student journalists in their effort to keep the Ithaca College and wider Ithaca community informed. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Even Nicolas Cage could not save ‘Arcadian’

Paul+%28Nicolas+Cage%29+and+one+of+his+sons%2C+Thomas+%28Maxwell+Jenkins%29%2C+fight+to+survive+on+Earth+after+most+of+the+population+has+been+wiped+out+in+Arcadian.
Courtesy of RLJE Films
Paul (Nicolas Cage) and one of his sons, Thomas (Maxwell Jenkins), fight to survive on Earth after most of the population has been wiped out in “Arcadian.”
2.0 out of 5.0 stars

This year’s South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas was filled to the brim with incredible new projects. Festival goers were able to get first-looks at Alex Garland’s “Civil War, Dev Patel’s “Monkey Man” and Amazon Prime’s new “Fallout” series. But every large media festival is bound to have some less than satisfactory projects, and SXSW is no different. 

This year, one of the less impressive projects was “Arcadian,” directed by Ben Brewer, a visual effects artist on the critically acclaimed: “Everything Everywhere All at Once. Audiences were initially drawn to the film —  released April 12 — for its cast of Jaeden Martell and everyone’s favorite nutjob: Nicolas Cage, who also acted as a producer. Another producer was a Cornell University graduate, Braxton Pope. Principal photography took place in Dublin, Ireland from November 2022 to February 2023, so it’s safe to say development has been slow for the “Arcadian” cast and crew.

Perhaps the high expectations contributed to the film’s ultimate blunder. In terms of plot, “Arcadian” tells the story of Paul (Nicolas Cage) and his two sons, Thomas (Maxwell Jenkins) and Joseph (Jaeden Martell) as they try to survive in a somewhat post-apocalyptic world overtaken by monsters, where nighttime is considered enemy No. 1. The story feels like a knockoff “Bird Box” or “A Quiet Place as the exact situation the characters are in is not fully explained, at least not explained very well. The world isn’t a total wasteland like what’s to be expected from a post-apocalyptic film, but something just always feels off. “Arcadian” is listed as an “action horror film,” but you’d be hard-pressed to find anything genuinely scary or interesting about it.

The worst part about “Arcadian” is the characters. They are so underdeveloped, and for lack of a better term, boring. Scenes drag on with uninteresting dialogue, the setting is not particularly eye-catching, and the film never really does anything to earn the audience’s attention. The actors are not solely to blame, considering how lackluster the script is. It is genuinely difficult to stay engaged throughout this entire film, and that’s saying something considering that it’s only around 80 minutes in length.

To the surprise of many, “Arcadian” has managed to secure mostly positive reviews from critics. It holds a score of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. The site’s consensus calls it a film that “blends family drama and post-apocalyptic horror to visceral, emotionally stirring effect.” However, audiences seem to disagree, since the film only holds a positive score of 54% from viewers. Needless to say, the film has been very divisive in the short time since it has been released. 

If there’s one good thing “Arcadian” does, it’s a reminder about just how good “A Quiet Place” is as a film, which is clearly what this movie is trying to copy. “A Quiet Place” was special because it featured little to no dialogue but managed to captivate audiences with its stellar performances, character writing, cinematography and story — all things that “Arcadian” simply does not have. Perhaps it would be seen as a better film if “A Quiet Place” did not exist, but nonetheless, it is still a taxing movie to sit through. It’s hard to even remember the names of the characters. The truth is, there’s nothing unique, memorable, or noteworthy about this film, which is a shame considering the talented team who worked on it.

Nicolas Cage is known for saving mediocre, dime-a-dozen indie films with his profound charisma and passion for any film he works on. But unfortunately, not even Cage could save “Arcadian” from being the tedious, derivative mess that it is. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to THE ITHACAN
$1670
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support The Ithacan's student journalists in their effort to keep the Ithaca College and wider Ithaca community informed. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to THE ITHACAN
$1670
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Ithacan Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *