Arrival: A Review


Exceptionally intelligent sci-fi film. The idea of the film is the hero and everything else around it makes adds to the primary idea. It leans more towards Close Encounters of The Third Kind than Independence Day.



Full Review

Arrival is a 2016 sci-fi film directed by Dennis Villeneuve, written by Eric Heisserer, based on Story of Your Life written by Ted Chiang and stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker. The film explores humanity’s attempts to make first contact with a mysterious aliens who land on earth unannounced and the fallout that comes with the attempts at communication.

To begin with, this is an intelligent but very deliberate film. A viewer familiar with Dennis Villeneuve’s previous work, which includes exceptional films Inciendies, Sicario, Prisoners and Enemy, know this facet going in. This film is not a run-of-the-mill alien shoot em up. The film begins with the recruitment of a linguist (Adams). She is brought into the fold, after the aliens land, to communicate with the extraterrestrial life forms and to find their purpose of travelling to Earth. She uses her immense set of skills and knowledge about language to decipher the alien’s motivations.

As mentioned previously, the film’s intelligence is in its small moments. The main plot of the film is straight forward, but the method used to flesh the plot out shows the high level of film-making at display here. A few moments of intelligence include the change in how gravity works on the earth to how it works on the alien’s ship, the breakdown of language in general and how every symbol gets a meaning behind it to make it a word or a sentence etc.

Amy Adams is spellbinding in her role as the chief linguist. Her delicate expressions and well thought out body language combined with the way the film tells its story make for a very engaging primary character. The other characters are mostly there to enable her in her quest to establish contact with the beings or to create obstacles for her to overcome.

The film-making on display, at some points here, is sheer genius. The mood, tone, score, cinematography, direction and imagination add so much more to the viewer’s overall viewing experience. There are moments during the course of the film where the tension on display may wind the audience ,watching the film, up as tight as much the characters in the film.

It is hard to review a film with so much to say without spoiling it entirely. Cutting the review short is the only way to make the reader want more. This is a film worth watching. It may be regarded as one of the greats of the sci-fi genre a few years down the line. If the film does not blow your mind per se, it will still make you think. A film that opens your mind is always a good film.




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