Film Review: ARCADIAN (2024): Benjamin Brewer’s Intriguing Science Fiction Picture Stars Nicolas Cage in an Underwhelming Role SuperNayr

Nicolas Cage Arcadian

Arcadian Review

Arcadian (2024) Film Review, a movie directed by Benjamin Brewer, written by Mike Nilon and starring Nicolas Cage, Jaeden Martell, Maxwell Jenkins, Sadie Soverall, Samantha Coughlan, Joe Dixon, Joel Gillman and Daire McMahon.

You can pretty much know what to expect from the dark futuristic thriller, Arcadian, right from the very first moments but those monsters the picture showcases are bad asses to be certain. Nicolas Cage plays a man named Paul who goes through some immense challenges to preserve the lives of two baby boys as the picture begins. The opening of the picture spells out to the audience that Cage’s character will be a heroic one but the movie fails to deliver on the promise of Cage’s character really getting that one big, great scene with the monsters that would cause a crowd to go wild.

Sure, when 15 years pass from the time he saves the babies, Paul will continue to fight for his family but in such a way that the budgetary restraints of the picture can afford. However, it would have been nice to have more Cage here and less of the sons but you can’t have it all these days, can you?

In Arcadian, a monster movie which may have been titled It Comes at Night if that title had not been used before, Jaeden Martell stars as the diligent Joseph, one of the babies Cage was protecting when Joseph was a little child all those years back. As Joseph’s brother, Thomas, Maxwell Jenkins gets to play a more disobedient role as he hangs out with the young Charlotte (Sadie Soverall) at the local “Rose farm” where she lives. Thomas finds comfort in her company but takes big risks to be with her.

There isn’t much of a plot but there’s plenty of action as chomping monsters go after victims as they clench their mouths together in a fashion that would give Pac-Man a run for his chomping skills. Cage conveniently becomes injured at one point in the picture which probably helped save money on extra acting scenes Cage would have to perform had his character continued to fight off the monsters all the way through to protect his two boys.

This new Cage movie, directed by Benjamin Brewer, is almost like The Village without a twist. It could have used a rewrite or some more detailed script elements. These monsters featured here are definitely real and are dangerous. Arcadian lacks the crucial backstory a film like this one should have as it reveals elements of what led to the terrifying outcome the humans face in piecemeal format. That’s simply a script issue, though.

The actual direction by Brewer is competent and suggests great things to come for the director as some scenes take flight in the movie which works like gangbusters. It must be said that the film’s ending is a signature science fiction movie showstopper with the monsters on fire as they come after our survivors with a vengeance chomping away despite the fact they’re lit up like a Christmas tree.

Nicolas Cage is a great actor. He just came off of the brilliant Dream Scenario which was one of the best roles the actor ever took on. Before that, he did the subtle and dramatic Pig. Arcadian feels like a step back for Cage though it could have been a step forward for any other actor given the fact that the movie relies on the actor for many heroic moments throughout the picture. It’s just that Cage is much better than the role he has been given here. He’s an Oscar-winning actor but Arcadian doesn’t really need that kind of background for the actor in the role of Paul to be successful.

As a creature feature, Arcadian ultimately delivers the goods. Sadie Soverall is particularly effective, adding a distinct personality to her character and Soverall is definitely an up-and-comer to keep an eye on. As the brothers, Jenkins and Martell are moderately successful together and their scenes opposite Cage are solid. One just wishes Cage had more of a chance to shine in a story where his character could have stood up and been much more pivotal to the action than the screenwriter allows for him to be.

Still, Arcadian is an action movie that offers fast-moving and gruesome chomping monsters, a futuristic setting and a lot of thoughtful, meaty topics about the future of civilization as we know it. The dialogue is adequate but the film doesn’t deal as effectively with the material as it could have. Nevertheless, as a low-budget movie, we’re probably lucky to get as much Cage screen time as the movie actually offers. Benjamin Brewer has a lot of talent which the confrontational scenes with the monsters aptly proves. It’s acceptable entertainment overall and a decent creature feature.

Rating: 7/10

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