Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Screenplay by: Eric Heisserer
Based on the story: “Story of Your Life” written by Ted Chiang
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker and Michael Stuhlbarg.
Without giving too much away, Arrival is a unique movie experience where language is viewed as more than communication; where learning a different language changes our neural pathways to change the way we see, feel and think.
Director, Denis Villeneuve has given his Midas touch to a film that really could have fallen flat.
With the space ships, or Shells in the sky used as the only marketing tool, I admit, I was worried.
But Arrival had a unique flavour that bent the mind in unexpected ways.
Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is a linguist contracted by the US government to attempt communication and translation of alien language. With 12 Shells hovering over cities across the globe, each country attempts to figure out the purpose of the aliens’ visit.
I know, I know, not another alien movie. But Arrival isn’t just an alien film. The word, ‘alien’ was used once with Dr. Banks asking, ‘am I the only one using this word?’
And that gives you an idea of the beauty of this film. There was a distinct lack of drivel.
I love how Villeneuve can get you right up with the characters, to feel the tension and emotion.
Anxiety is shown so well in this film. And Amy Adams is to be commended. Her strength, intelligence and femininity shone – Denis making the most of Amy’s blue-eyed goodness. The insight Villeneuve has managed to show of Dr. Bank’s character is astounding. If only for this aspect, I enjoyed the film. Then combine the incredible story, soundtrack and pace with that extra flavour that makes the characters so believable, you’ve got a winning film.
The real surprise for me was Jeremy Renner as the physicist, Ian Donnelly. I admit I’m not a fan of Renner. He has played so many cringe worthy characters, I shudder to think. But in the role of Ian Donnelly, and handled with the skill of Villeneuve, this quiet, thoughtful character resonated well as a support to Dr. Louise Banks.
This isn’t an action film, nor your typical sci-fi, and Arrival isn’t scary. But the subtleties and suspense of the story kept me completely absorbed.
Arrival isn’t so much an alien film as an exploration into language and how it affects our view of the world.
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