With Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Jadyn Malone, Tzi Ma
Written by Eric Heiserer (based on Ted Chiang's "The Story Of Your Life")
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
The theme of love, loss (and your choices in these resulting in joy or sorrow) are wrapped in this truly fascinating scenario of alien craft arriving on earth.
A linguist is drafted to use her language skills in trying to communicate with these visitors. With twelve of these craft positioned around the planet and no clue as to why they're here, various countries try to get to the bottom of it. But with a completely unfamiliar physiology, and a communication system unlike ours, this has to be taken step-by-step as she tries to not only decipher and interpret, but also speak with these vastly alien beings.
The elements of fear, dread, and the unknown is powerfully real as the government controlled operation impatiently can't understand the systematic methodology needed in this delicate situation. Misunderstanding and overreaction can be fatal.
With a very classy, steady pace, the dramatic essence is intense, the revelations mind blowing and very moving.
I love how the filmmakers play with time and the audience's perception of it.
Human behaviour, our rationality and stupidity come to the fore as nations around the world (ironically) can't communicate properly in cracking this code, leading to potential disaster.
To me Arrival definitely feels like this generation's Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.
While Moonlight was a well-deserved Oscar win, I would not have argued if 8-nominee Arrival walked off with Best Picture, but sadly genre movies like this usually get snubbed.
From here director Villeneuve has gone to the sought after job of helming the much anticipated Bladerunner 2049, sequel to Ridley Scott's classic.
It was a surprise to see Shawn Levy as a producer on this film, as he's usually known for more fluffy stuff like the Night At The Museum movies and Pink Panther remakes(!) But, he was also producer on the highly entertaining Netflix series Stranger Things.
DVD Extras: The Xenolinguistics chapter takes you into the deeper meanings behind Arrival and many aspects of its production, includign interviews with all key cast and crew (do not watch before seeing the movie!); plus a piece on the film's organic, delicate and original sound design creation.
6 / B
- Paul Blom
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