Arrival Review

“There are days that define your story beyond your life, like the day they arrived.”

Director Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicario) takes his first foray into the science fiction genre with the highly anticipated, Arrival. Alien ships have come down to earth and there isn’t a reason why they came to our planet. So they enlisted linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and an elite team trying to figure out how to communicate on what their purpose being here on earth. For starters, what can you expect out of Villeneuve filmography? This is absolutely a gorgeous looking film capturing untested shots like the first time we see the ship in this amazing shot. The screenplay from Eric Heisserer wrote a captivating adaptation of the short story, “Story of Your Life”. Amy Adams quite possibly one of the best emotional roles yet in her career as we’re following along with her trying to understand the aliens language. There’s so much into her character as it’s shown in flashbacks about her past that are a struggle to her. Besides Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker also gave very good performances as well. Both Adams and Renner had a good relationship with each other. With Villeneuve directing, there are scenes that are brilliantly composed especially with the interactions between the humans and the aliens. By the way, the aliens were almost frightening just hearing them. And visual effects were perfect. But there were two things going into Arrival that was already gonna be set up. The first thing was I knew this wasn’t gonna be like a popcorn flick like Independence Day or even District 9. It’s a smarter idea in the kind of similar sense to Contact and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. And the other thing is that this is a Villeneuve vehicle to where it will be a slow-burning movie. The pace, especially in the middle, does get mildly slow. But just like his previous films, it does gain more momentum later on. I’ll say the first and third act was really something that’s really connected or even relatable. This also shows an impactful message about humanity and interpreting many different languages could solve problems with the knowledge of helping each other out in a time of danger dealing with a crisis just like an alien invasion. With these kinds of films, it needs a little bit of time trying to gain a matter of what needs to be understood. As time passes and the more just processing what was happening, this turned out to get better once realized making you actually think for a moviegoer. This delivered on great directing, fascinating story and a powerful performance from Amy Adams with also leaving with an ending that ultimately makes you think and have a realization about what it meant. It’s not an average invasion movie, this does it with brains to construct it all.

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Arrival is thought-provoking, smart, and complex with unique storytelling for the sci-fi genre.

Grade: A-

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