Cactus Jack (2018)

Cactus Jack (2018)
2.8
  • 114
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release year: 2018 ()
  • Running time: 85 min
  • Original Title: Cactus Jack
  • Voted: 114

When an amateur documentarian sets out to make a film about a man who hasn't left his mother's basement in six months, he discovers the recluse is in fact a vile doomsday hatemonger. The tables are turned when the maniac snaps, imprisons him, and takes control of the cameras to start a vitriolic, venomous podcast-making enemies far and wide and promising violent retribution. This challenging, polarizing, partially crowdfunded $20,000 micro-budget feature film written and directed by The Thornton Brothers is their debut feature (shot almost exclusively on iPhones in their own basement with a cast of two and crew of zero). CACTUS JACK may be a found footage horror film treatise on viral hate and the complicity of social media, but it is also a labor of love that took almost four years to make-and in doing so has just grown more and more relevant and terrifying given the current state of the country and world in terms of racial injustice, tribalism, xenophobia, misogyny, political ...

#PersonCharacters
1Chris Thornton\N
  • Garbage that tries to make a name for itself using the most overused and over exaggerated words for the last 4 years. by 1

    Title says it all. This is a waste of time and effort and shouldn't even be viewed by by anyone. It's pure tribalism trying to get one side to hate the other based on assumptions of a reddit rat. Mind numbingly ridiculous and over the top in the worst way possible.

  • Found Footage Propaganda by 2

    Well now, this is a very ugly and unpleasant way to spend 80 minutes, and I don't recommend you do.

    'Cactus Jack' tries to take the Blair Witch "found footage" genre and politicize it in a very 2021 way that jettisons storytelling, characterization and all conceivable entertainment value.

    The premise is a documentary filmmaker begins filming a far right fanatic as he rants about the state of the world at great length and starts plotting to kill people. And that's about it: that's the film.

    Early on it put me in mind of the (incomparably better) Interview With The Assassin, which pulled off a much more believable and enigmaticly engaging antagonist because he wasn't required to just spout strawman profanities from the first time he opened his mouth until the last.

    The first 20 minutes are the best, but after that they just go off the rails: more than half the film has no story at all, it is simply Cactus Jack frothing at the camera in such relentlessly hateful ways I had to skip through parts just to get to where the story picked up again and protect my mental health. So I must have missed about 30 minutes of it, and I'm glad I did. And I still felt like I needed to take a bath throughout.

    As the titular gun nut, R. Michael Gull is very good, even if EVERYTHING he is made to say is so over the top racist, sexist, homo/islamo/trans/etc-phobic, he starts feeling unrealistic within seconds. People just don't talk this way in real life: they don't add three or more targeted victim groups to EVERY sentence (LITERALLY every sentence) they speak, and then end it by reminding you they hate their mother. That's just silly. And hence the fictional bad guy *himself* becomes silly. I'm pretty sure even the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan has to take a break, crack a joke and pet a dog once in awhile.

    What's really odd is there's no rejoinder presented to the positions Cactus Jack puts forwards: a good proportion of what he says is actually factually true, so I'm puzzled as to what the filmmakers are trying to achieve. If there ARE no factual arguments that disprove them, is it just the fact that he is prepared to LOOK at those uncomfortable truths that makes him a 'bad' person? Should 'good' people then believe things that aren't true? What kind of message is that to put out into the world? It seems the filmmakers simply think the mere fact that he holds them is enough to condemn him in the audience's eyes, and so don't offer any reasons why he should conclude anything differently, or realize he is mistaken in his conclusions: I'm sure there must be SOME good liberal/left-wing arguments against his positions on race, crime, terrorism, etc, but if there are it doesn't seem the filmmakers are aware of them. So they simply have him state his beliefs with a hefty dollop of the foulest language they can come up with on top to shock the audience and then hurry on.

    What most disturbs me is that this seems to be how (most?) Democrats see the 70,000,000+ people in their own country who voted for Trump in 2016: a "basket of deplorables" with no redeeming features, no possible grounds or rationale for any of their concerns or grievances. Those 70,000,000 people are simply evil.

    But "evil", obviously, is a very unhealthy and unhelpful way to consider every second neighbour, workmate and family member in your life. It won't make you, them, or your country any happier, safer or unified in the future. As soon as you dehumanize people in this cartoonish way, the civilized conversation is over and the battle lines are drawn. The less you listen to (and care for) these people, the more angry and violent they're going to become. Isn't that obvious?

    For all this, it's still impressive what the makers have done with a miniscule budget: the acting and (iphone!) photography is more than would be hoped for with a project of this size, and the two guys in it have clearly committed themselves to the mission. The problem really is just that the mission is extremist political propaganda that will only cause further division in a country more divided now than it has been probably since the Civil War. Which seems to me an objectively awful thing to do. I really wish I hadn't seen it.

  • poorly done propaganda ! by 1

    More ridiculous nonsense from the left.don't waste your time!

  • Just because you *can* make a garbage no budget movie, doesn't mean you should by 1

    To write a full review of this would be a bigger waste of time than what it took actually watching it. Neither of these guys should ever act again. It felt like a grossly overacted high school play. Literally no extremist acts like that, not even actual Nazi's from the 1940s. The next thing these "Directors" (LOL) need to direct is the funeral for their careers. Please, leave the movie industry, this was beyond terrible. You just made Birdemic look Oscar-worthy.

  • A bad idea unless intended by 1

    Just watched it till the end because I thought there must be a whopping good twist or point coming.But nope. Can't unhear it (nothing to see really). Suggest you do not.

    If anything its a free ticket to being able to spew hate and vile idea's.There is no balance, there is no lesson/idea; about 99% is cursing.Its a good source for foul language and anti-social behaviour.And its true that such an ideology like this exists I might even agree (if ever so slightly) with some of the arguments made.But it does nothing for those who do not share such a world view, rather it is fuel and intoxicating for those who do.We have seen the effect recently with the 2020 elections.

    In short: A bad idea to give bad ideas such an accessible platform and format.

#PersonCrew
1Jay Thorntondirector
2Sidney Shermanproducer