SXSW 2024: ARCADIAN: Nicolas Cage and Cast Live in a Post-Apocalyptic World

The feature film Arcadian had the World Premiere at the 2024 SXSW Film & Television Festival in the Narrative Spotlight category and is now available in theaters.

SYNOPSIS: A father and his twin teenage sons fight to survive in a remote farmhouse at the end of the end of the world.

Directed by Benjamin Brewer (The Trust) from a screenplay by Michael Nilon (Braven), the film stars Nicolas Cage, Jaeden Martell, Maxwell Jenkins, Sadie Soverall, Samantha Coughlan, and Joel Gillman. Cage fans are used to seeing him front and center in the films he stars in. At the story’s beginning, he is, and then with the storyline, he is not for a while. The focus is then on the teenage sons as they live each day based on the skills their father, Paul, has taught them.

The siblings are twins played by Jaeden Martell (Knives Out) and Maxwell Jenkins (“Lost in Space” TV series), but they have their differences. They will have to learn to work together to survive and care for their father after a life-threatening injury. One is more mature and appears to have educated himself with skills to craft and create items to fight against what aims to kill them. As I watched him, he has a scientific mind and approach. His brother is headstrong and less focused on their regular daytime chores, with an excuse to go to the nearby farmhouse to help. It turns out the farmer has a cute daughter, Charlotte (Sadie Soverall, Saltburn), who has been kept sheltered away from the dangers and the deterioration of the “outside” world from the farm.

After Paul’s injury, the twins set in motion their efforts to tend to him during daylight and shelter in place at night as is the custom. The story does cover ground about how to proceed with their limited time, as it is evident that the creatures are steadily making their way into the shelters where the humans hide away from them. One scene sent chills through me when one of the boys naps, and something approaches him. The filmmakers create tremendous tension to let the audience know what might be to come in later scenes.

Arcadian does have action leading into the full-on fight for life. The third act is when the creatures display their attack on the farmhouses where their prey lives. There is no doubt they are there to devour them, and of course, some scenes will have many in the audience gasp and turn away from the screen.

Plenty of films and television series are available about an apocalyptic world and what we humans are likely to do. The sense of lack or limitations makes humans behave in various ways, and they only sometimes think of helping each other. This movie may not feature the first or most original script about the human story in this state of the world, but it is a reminder of the nightmarish world it can become, even among families.

The film is Rated R for bloody images. Runtime: 92 minutes.

Source: SXSW, IFC Film

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