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Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker
This could be the final movie review I’ll do in my twenties as I’ll be turning 30 on Sunday. I might squeeze in another movie review between now and then. In the meantime, let’s direct our attention to Arrival. I didn’t have any ideas regarding the storyline prior to viewing this film. I’ve seen the trailers and have been mighty impressed by them. There has been a lot of positive feedback from various sites, it currently has a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Not a massive fan of sci-fi but I thought I’d give this a shot, nonetheless.
Amy Adams is Professor Louise Banks, a Linguistics professor who has been appointed to lead a team of elite investigators when twelve gigantic spaceships touchdown in twelve different locations around the world. No one knows what the aliens want. Are they friend or foe? Peaceful or hostile? What do they want and why are they here? Who knows, and it’s up to Banks and her team to find out the answer. It’s a race against time. Time that humanity might not have.
There was a lot of buzz about this film, like I mentioned in my introduction, and boy were they right to be excited about it. Arrival is a damn good movie and one that I can’t recommend highly enough.
This is the sort of movie that messes with your head. When you reach the third act it makes you re-thing everything that has happened before it. If you’ve seen the likes of Gone Girl, American Psycho, or The Girl on the Train, you’ll understand where I’m coming from.
Arrival is a beautifully directed film. It’s some of the best of the year, especially when you truly see the spaceship for the first time. Think of that scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It’s this incredible long take, encompassing the whole area this thing has landed in. It’s jaw dropping. Words don’t do it justice. It has to be seen to be believed.
What Arrival does brilliantly is setting up tension. You get the sense of panic and paranoia, you guessing at every turn about the motives of the aliens. Do they come in peace or is it war of the worlds?
The first act also builds up the character of Louise Banks (almost wrote Sasha Banks there), who is superbly played by Amy Adams. This is one the best performances I’ve seen by Adams. The entire film rests on her shoulders and she carries it perfectly.
I wish I could say the same about Jeremy Renner’s character. Well, I could but that would be a lie. He doesn’t add anything. He even has this line where he tells Banks that he wouldn’t know where they’ll be without her. He does have a key moment towards the end, other than that, it’s a wasted opportunity for an actor of Renner’s abilities.
Her job is to communicate with the Aliens, and when you see these Aliens for the first time, my oh my! It blew my mind! Banks has to learn the Aliens’ language in order to communicate with them, which in turn, helps them solve problems and not cause problems. It’s a really good message of international communication and how everyone has to settle their differences and work towards one goal.
Is it the best Alien invasion movie of all time? It’s in the top ten, for sure.
It is a slow paced movie. I’m talking snail’s pace. That may seem like a turn off for some but not for me. They take time to tell a story, I prefer it that way.
Highly recommend this film.
Expect it to make some noise at Oscar season.
Rating: **** ½ (Champion)