‘Arrival’ is a Beautiful, Unpredictable Sci-fi Drama

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Published November 24, 2016
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The Montclarion
Photo credit: Jan Thijs - © 2016 PARAMOUNT PICTURES. (Fair Use)
Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org

When you have a director like Denis Villeneuve helming a project, you already know you are going to something that is out-of-this world. That’s something he has showcased with “Prisoners,” “Enemy” and “Sicario,” which are three of the best films of the 2010s. When I heard his project following “Sicario” would be a film involving aliens in a “different matter,” I was obviously excited, as were all the cinephiles in the world.
The film has a simple, yet thought-provoking premise involving aliens coming down to Earth for an unknown reason. The US government tracks down Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams), a well-received linguist, to assist in translating the alien language and communications. I adored this film so much, as it ranks very high in my Top 10 of 2016.
This is different from any alien invasion film I’ve ever seen.

People need to go in realizing that it’s not an “Independence Day” or “War of the Worlds” and follows the footsteps of artsy sci-fi films like “Under the Skin” and “Snowpiercer” in certain ways, shapes and forms. What Villeneuve does beautifully is focus more on the characters and story than the visual effects. I loved following Louise and the other characters on this subtle journey that doesn’t leave your mind. I personally feel this is his best film, in terms of directing, since it’s more self-contained that his previous films and the upcoming “Blade Runner 2049”. But, I still look at “Prisoners” as being my favorite of his catalog.
Adams is spectacular in this, with this possibly as her best performance ever. Banks is a character that has been through a lot, as the film’s opening scene is extremely gut-punching. You watch and think this character is confident in completing the task of finding out why the aliens are here, but in all honesty, she’s scared and restrained, while still adding some confidence to herself. The performances from Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker were also very good, but the film relies on Adams’ shoulders as this is her character’s story, specifically.
The message and meaning of the story thoroughly progress, as this is a slow-burner, which might turn off some viewers. But, you must do yourself a favor and stick with it, as this film has one of the best endings I’ve seen in years. It’s one that you’ll have a hard time taking off your mind due to how good it is. I strongly recommend you check out “Arrival,” especially if you want to see an Oscar contender, because I guarantee this will be all over the award discussion this winter. If you’re also interested in seeing what Villeneuve can pull off in the sci-fi genre before “Blade Runner 2049” comes out, then check this film out. Be prepared for an experience that is unlike anything that you have ever seen.

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