Arrival – ☆☆☆☆☆
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writers: Eric Heisserer (screenplay) Ted Chiang (story)
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker
Nominated for 8 Academy Awards
Summary: Linguistics professor, Dr. Louise Banks, is faced with a challenge when twelve alien spacecrafts unexpectedly land on earth, and she must interpret their obscure language.
This film is so bizarre. Honestly the freakiest most mind-boggling film I’ve seen since Inception. And I’m a total sucker for apocalypse-type movies, so I feel kind of guilty that it took me this long to see this film. Arrival isn’t just another sci-fi film, it’s got a tone to the film that somewhat separates it from anything else, involving the complex character of Louise Banks, where the events of the film intertwine with her own life story.
Before you’re absolutely blown away by this film, let’s start off by the fact that there’s freaking ALIENS involved, and can I say, kudos to the filmmakers of this one for pulling off a sci-fi alien film without making a total cliche story of gooey monsters with twelve eyes and lazer guns chanting “TAKE US TO YOUR LEADER”. These aren’t your typical green-skinned blorgs- whatever a blorg might be – they’re truly the creepiest incarnation of aliens yet because of the fact they are so subtly shown, as if they’re lurking and sneaking, and watching the characters Ian and Louise face these things every time had me on the edge of my seat, my heart racing and frankly just exhausted; in addition the absolutely creepy soundtrack by Jóhann Jóhannsson is something that just leaves you uneasy and unnerved, which only further added to my exhaustion, I felt like I needed a big breath after every scene.
I had to constantly remind myself that this film’s a 12A, so they can’t possibly put anything too terrifying in it, but damn I was spooked. The suspense felt in this film leaves your eyes stuck on the cinema screen, you probably forgot you were even in a cinema and instead some unfortunate bystander watching this whole quagmire of a situation unfold right in front of you and providing no help whatsoever. The brilliance of this film is the fact that it didn’t rely on any action-packed kickass fighting scenes you could expect with sci-fi; it’s truly intellectual, it’s a puzzle to be solved and you find yourself trying to piece the picture together, so you can turn to the person next to you and probably rub it in their face that you’ve figured it out. Oh how wrong you were, since the real bite of the film is the ending.
Amy Adams’ Oscar snub is alarming, especially after seeing Arrival. You feel her fear, you feel the terror in her eyes as she approaches the spacecrafts, her character is so human, she’s just doing her job, and isn’t some Lara Croft-esque action-packed babe, and she’s got a backstory that packs a punch.
At this moment it’s been about 24 hours since I’ve seen this film, and I tell you it’s still got me thinking- thinking about everything. This story is magnificently plotted out and so much more complex than it seems from the surface that I needed to lie down and think for a long time after.