Arrival (II) (2016)

PG-13   |    |  Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi


Arrival (2016) Poster

A linguist works with the military to communicate with alien lifeforms after twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world.

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7.9/10
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  • Jeremy Renner and Abigail Pniowsky at an event for Arrival (2016)
  • Jeremy Renner and Denis Villeneuve in Arrival (2016)
  • Amy Adams in Arrival (2016)
  • Abigail Pniowsky at an event for Arrival (2016)
  • Amy Adams and Denis Villeneuve in Arrival (2016)
  • Arrival (2016)

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15 October 2016 | bartonj2410
10
| This generation's Close Encounters of the Third Kind
The mystery of the unknown is something that doesn't get explored enough within science fiction. Too often we see science fiction films, particularly involving aliens, that are only interested with how we, as a species, would fight back against them.

Every now and then however, we get a film like Denis Villeneuve's Arrival that comes along and offers something totally different. The film uses its tagline "Why are they here?" quite literally to deliver one of the most fascinating films you will see all year.

Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is one of the world's leading linguists, who gets recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications. Along with mathematician Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), Louise attempts to get answers as to why twelve alien spacecrafts have landed at different locations around the world.

I had only seen three of Denis Villeneuve's previous films before yet I have been impressed with the diversity of his films, a trend he continues with Arrival. What I really admire about Villeneuve as a filmmaker is the choice he makes to not spoon feed the audience with every single piece of information. He instead makes films to challenge the audience, leaving them to either complete the puzzle themselves or question the morality of his characters.

With Arrival, Villeneuve has crafted a truly thought provoking science fiction film, telling the story in a slow yet masterful manner, leading to a beautiful pay off. The theme of communication resonates massively with the world today, the moment communication between twelve countries via satellite link breaks down summing it up quite suitably.

Villeneuve's storytelling is aided by some superb cinematography from Bradford Young and a haunting score from Jóhann Jóhannsson. Young's cinematography captures the sense of wonder perfectly while Jóhannsson's score heightens the sense of mystery surrounding the alien visitors and their intentions.

Coming to the performances, Arrival features a real emotional heartbeat thanks to a fantastic performance from the always dependable Amy Adams, who conveys such a wide range of emotions as Louise, growing in confidence with each session she gets with the visitors. Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker offer some fine support for Adams but there is no doubting this film belongs to her.

Arrival is one of the best films of the year and a really great example of science fiction filmmaking from Denis Villeneuve, who is perfectly suited to bring us the sequel to Blade Runner next year. I would happily put this film in the same league as something like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, one of the all time greats of sci-fi.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the early scene where Col. Weber visits Louise in her school office, he mentions she still has another two years in her SSBI which stands for Single Scope Background Investigation, a type of US security clearance investigation required for TOP SECRET-level Controlled Access Programs. It involves running background checks of the subject's employment, education, organization affiliations and any local agency in places where they have lived, worked, traveled or attended school, including interviews with persons who know the subject both personally and professionally. Once granted, Top Secret clearance is good for five years, after which another SSBI must be conducted for renewal. Presumably, Louise's SSBI was first conducted by Army Intelligence before she was allowed to translate their recordings of Iranian insurgents speaking in Farsi.


Quotes

Louise Banks: I used to think this was the beginning of your story. Memory is a strange thing. It doesn't work like I thought it did. We are so bound by time, by its order.
Louise Banks: Okay. Okay. Come back to me. Come back to me. Come back to me.
Louise Banks: Stick 'em up! Are you the ...


Goofs

Colonel Weber's badges on his Army Combat Uniform (ACU) disappear and reappear. Most notably, there is a scene where his Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) is completely absent but reappears later in the movie.


Crazy Credits

Right after the cast credits, "On the Nature of Daylight" by Max Richter is given an extra credit as the "Beginning and end music" in addition to the usual soundtrack credit near the end of the credit roll.


Soundtracks

Hazmat
Written by
Jóhann Jóhannsson

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller

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