Arrival Film Review

Updated on January 5, 2017

This is one of the special movies of 2016. “Arrival” is a thought provoking, mysterious, emotional, and meaningful Sci-fi film that will remind you of Robert Zemeckis’ “Contact” and Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar”. Denis Villeneuve’s (Sicaro and Prisoners) film is full of symbolism and smart ideas with a powerful emotional core that will leave many viewers moved and the same time deriving different interpretations of what they saw. This is the anti-Independence Day which means it is not close to being an action movie, it is a movie about the power of communication and language.

In “Arrival”, the aliens land in 12 different sites across the world with no clear intentions. The confused US government/army reaches out to the brilliant linguistic (Amy Adams) to establish a means of communication with the visitors. She then works hard to teach the visitors our basic language only to find her self learning their language which shows her that the power of language exceeds anything we imagined before, and learning a language can change how humans think and interpret things. Another important themes in this film are loss, death, and acceptance of one’s fate. It is difficult to talk about how those themes are reflected in the movie without spoiling specific plot points so I will leave that part to you.

Denis Villeneuve is currently directing Blade Runner 2 (the sequel to the best film ever made in my opinion). He was chosen to direct the sequel to that classic sci-fi film because he is superb in establishing mood. His cinematographer’s work, atmospheric score choice, and the colors used are all strong factors in establishing the film’s mood of unease and anticipation. “Arrival” represents the perfect vehicle to display his talents in full force because it succeeds on many fronts including mood, anticipation, ideas, and human emotions. The film could have used some more excitement and suspense but the filmmakers understandably focused on ideas and mood which made the film a very thought-provoking experience. The overall experience teases a more realistic conclusion but make no mistake, the payoff is pure fiction even if it is equally smart.

If you are not able to check this one out at the movies, then make sure to bring it home when it is released on blu-ray because it is a very unique vision made by a very talented filmmaker. “Arrival” is one of the most interesting films of 2016.

Rating: 8/10

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