Residents of Arcadia is a mystery that feels right out of Black Mirror. Though less horror, it is still a mental tailspin. It follows two online influencers who worry when a countdown appears on their tv and mirrors. The film explores identity, success, and the challenges immigrants face. Equal parts mysterious and funny with tension, Residents of Arcadia tackles the immigrant experience with an entertaining story of one couple’s fight to achieve their dreams.

It is hard to talk about Residents of Arcadia without giving away parts of the mystery. Written and directed by Dom Cutrupi, Anika (Kamantha Naidoo) and Steve (Michael Stephen Perry) seem to have the perfect life. They live in a beautiful home and earn their living as online influencers. Anika promotes her products online, while Steve is a motivational speaker. Their lives are not all rosy as they bicker over finances. Then the situation takes a turn for the creepy as an unknown man enters their property. After security patrol apprehends the man, a mysterious countdown appears the following day. 

Residents of Arcadia Shows The Challenges Of Being An Outsider

Then we have the couple, Mira (Ishaval Gill) and Remo (Nick Preston), less successful online influencers in Canada on a visa. As former residents of Arcadia, they either need to come up with ten thousand dollars or find a job to remain in Canada. They both struggle in opposition to their first-generation immigrant counterparts. Remo cannot find work as a motivational speaker due to his accent. Residents of Arcadia grounds itself with two immigrants’ dreams, focusing on a future that feels a hop away from our own. 

Residents of Arcadia still of Mira and Remo with friends at a table.
Residents of Arcadia still of Mira and Remo

Arcadia shows immigrants a life filled with success, provided they put in the effort. Two Black Mirror episodes that spring to mind are “Fifteen Million Merits” and “Nosedive.” The implication that working hard leads to success ignores the discrimination and biases immigrants face. But Arcadia sells the dream in a unique way. Still, Arcadia is not much different from social media influencers, peddling a glamorous successful life where they live. People from other countries move to places like Canada and the U.S. to taste that success. 

Acting Is On Point

The cast, especially Ishaval Gill and Nick Preston, do a good job selling the story. Their fight for a better life and to remain together is believable, and you hope they succeed. As Mira and Remo fight to uncover the truth about Arcadia, the film shifts away from the thrilling tones for a comedic one. Because of their bickering, Mira and Remo seem like a couple together for at least a decade. As they work menial labor jobs to remain in Canada, the question of what is success and happiness comes up again and again. 

Comedic Moments But Some Drag

Residents of Arcadia shows the appearance of success is just that: an appearance. Most people are over-leveraged and in debt, except for the elite. While the mystery is enticing, the film spends a lot of time showing Mira and Remo’s life in Canada. To give more time to the Arcadia mystery, they should trim that down or increase the movie’s runtime. Despite some pacing issues with the uneven focus, Residents of Arcadia combines a sci-fi mystery with the immigrant experience to dramatic effect. 

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