I love movies. I love writing about them. Hope you like reading what I write.
Amy Adams again? Perhaps she’s tried to make up for throwing the Kryptonite spear into that water in Batman v Superman, only to need to save it moments later. Yes, I’m still angry about that.
Arrival is Denis Villeneuve’s new venture into sci-fi. In it, Amy Adams are Louise, a language expert brought into the interpreter on the first contact man has with an alien visitor.
First Contact is something of the ultimate diplomatic puzzle. How literally on earth do we ask fundamental questions to a species that is so removed from human understanding?
The magnitude of this problem is made evident in every moment of this film. The first moment we see spatial and full, my heart stopped. Not since watching the alien trailer had a had such an existential moment when thinking about aliens.
They don’t cheat us either when we learn the characters’ methods for learning the aliens’ language. Great sci-fi takes difficult concepts and puts them down to our level, to the point we feel smart. There is some fantastic writing here.
The ultimate thesis of the film is that the connective tissue of civilisation is language. It goes further by saying that the language we speak does, in fact, change the way we think. While first glance this very idea could be interpreted to divide us, the film mixed clearance intentions. Our differences make us ultimately stronger, though the implications of such difference can still be scary.
What genuinely surprised me was the film’s intimate portrayal Amy Adams character. The story and the story of first contact, are connected in a way you wouldn’t be able to guess. It’s quite masterful work.
My only problems with Arrival are unfortunate ones that could have been avoided easily.
Voice-over is used sporadically in a way that distracts the audience from the reality. This could have been avoided if they had at least showed who the character was talking to.
Jeremy Renner is a talented man with an impressive resume. Here is his usual have silly have smart self, the first part doesn’t quite work at times. Too many lines are not funny enough for the pauses for audience laughter to be anything but painful.
Other than that, this is a solid and intellectually stimulating sci-fi movie.
Recommended Scenario: if you want a more consistently thought-provoking if less visually mind blowing version of Interstellar.