ARRIVAL (2016)

ARRIVAL (2016)

Arrival is a 2016 American science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Eric Heisserer. Based on the 1998 short story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang. It stars Amy AdamsJeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker. The film follows a linguist enlisted by the United States Army to discover how to communicate with extraterrestrial aliens. Those have arrived on Earth, before tensions lead to war.

With Arrival(2016), Villeneuve finally finds a subject, and a script, whose magnitude matches the weight he assigns to it. All it took was an alien species’ appearance on Earth. It is about the day the universe changed forever. But becomes more focused on a single story even as it’s expanding its worldwide narrative. It is more about grief, time, communication and compassion than it is warp speed. It’s a film that asks questions. How do we approach that which terrifies us?


The movie skirts the edge of absurdity as anything like this must, but a forthright star performance from Amy Adams. She convinces you that something that could be silly is actually amazing and deeply scary. The film’s look and feel too is unlike your typical sci-fi blockbuster. It really unfolds like a drama about ordinary people who suddenly find themselves in this extraordinary scenario. There are moments of such beauty amidst nature. Also repeated glimpses of a tragic back-story, revealed at a meditative pace. These are followed by such a haunting score , there are times you feel like you’re watching a Terrence Malick film.

ARRIVAL (2016)

The film’s greatest joy is in experiencing the awe and wonder of what is happening through Amy Adams. Also her sense of excitement and fear that plays out on the canvas that is her beautiful, expressive face. She is not only the heart and soul of this film, but also the eyes and ears of the viewer. As it is through her that we understand what the film is trying to say.


Louise’s liaison is the flirtatious Ian Donnelly, a military scientist who, in a banal way, equates his masculinity with science. There is a secret tragedy in Louise’s life: a lost child, dead of cancer in her late teens. Her attempts to communicate with the aliens cause painful, echoes in her consciousness. The aliens have a code that a bit ridiculously, Louise finds herself more or less able to crack. It is her human intuition and spontaneity that finally enable her to reach out to the visitors.

The movie cites the result of native Australians being visited by Captain Cook and the white Europeans. Tactfully, it does not mention the more obvious issues of Africans or Native Americans. Having said that, this is an ambitious filmmaking that deserves an audience. It’s a film that forces viewers to reconsider that which makes us truly human. Even also the impact of grief on that timeline of existence.

Amy Adams as Louise Banks in ARRIVAL by Paramount Pictures

Arrival(2016) is definitely a fascinating and provocative science fiction thriller. It delves into some weighty and complex concepts about communication and how we perceive time and space. When several mysterious alien crafts appear throughout the world; the U.S. Army recruits linguist professor Louise Banks to join a team of specialists that will attempt to make contact. Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner lead the cast and deliver incredibly strong performances especially Adams, who gives a career best. Indeed it is a smart film that challenged the audience.  Arrival is remarkably compelling.


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