Arrival is directed by Denis Villeneuve and oh my… this film is wonderful.
I have seen three of Denis Villeneuve’s previous films: Prisoners, Sicario, and Enemy. Prisoners was an incredible film that I feel is much underrated. I enjoyed Sicario, but not as much as I wanted too, and Enemy was one of the weirdest films I have ever seen. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Enemy and I still have no clue if I liked it. When I heard about Arrival and saw that Denis Villeneuve was directing the movie, I was pretty excited. Even if he wasn’t the one directing the film, the plot alone would have convinced me to go see it.
For those that don’t know, Arrival is a film where 12 alien ships land on earth, and their purpose is unclear. The military recruits Amy Adam’s character, Louise, who is a linguist, to enter one the ships so she can learn and communicate with the aliens and learn why they came to Earth.
It is a really unique concept for a movie, and I really, REALLY enjoyed it.
Before I continue with my review, I wanted to let you know this review DOES NOT contain spoilers. This is a film that I don’t want to spoil for anyone, so I’m going to do my best to talk about Arrival without spoilers. So, here we go…
The movie seems big in scope, but the film is really about Amy Adam’s character. Amy Adam’s delivers an incredible, Oscar-worthy performance. Without a performance like hers, the movie loses a large amount of its emotional weight. But, thankfully, Amy Adams really shines in this film, and the movie is better because of it.
I really liked Jeremy Renner’s character, who plays a scientist that works with Amy Adams. The loyalty and appreciation he shows to Louise was nice to see. He doesn’t do much to propel the plot forward, but he does work well as a supporting character for Louise.
The music and cinematography of this movie does a really good job of making these aliens feel out-of-this-world. The shots of the ships or the aliens themselves paired with the ominous music and sounds establishes this unsettling feel for me. It made me unsure of just how big of a threat these aliens were, if any.
I did have two minor flaws with the film. Around the middle of the movie, there is a big time jump that is narrated by Jeremy Renner. The jump comes out of nowhere and in a few minutes everyone in the film has solutions to some of the problems without really explaining how they got these answers. Keeping things vague to avoid spoilers, it does make sense why they would choose to skip ahead in the story. If they took time to explain how they came up with the solutions the movie would be a lot longer than it needed to be. To me, finding the solutions to the problems was really interesting, so it was a little disappointing that the movie does skip ahead and solve some of the issues without showing us. Another problem I had with the film is that there is an element of the aliens that is brought up towards the end of the film that is never explained any further. It’s a very small problem to me, but the movie does nothing with this very interesting topic. I get why the movie chooses not to do it. It has nothing to do with the overall story and adds nothing to the themes of the film. To avoid spoilers, I’m not going to go any further into why the “thing” bothered me. Now… more positives!
The themes of the movie get really deep and forces you to stop and think. How would you react in this given situation? It’s a really important message and the way the movies gets the message across is so unique and a big part of why I love this movie so much!
The third act of the film does something that makes the movie SO incredible and had me saying:
This is unreal…
It’s such a fascinating element of the film, and does so many cool things that I can’t tell you about because I don’t want to spoil anything so just go see the movie! Seriously!
I have seen the movie twice, and it is even better the second time. The movie isn’t for everyone. It’s a slow drama, but one that tells an incredible story. This is one of my favorite films of 2016 and I’m going to give Arrival a FANTASTIC out of 10.
What do you think of Arrival? Let me know down below!
Thanks for reading!
My next review will be on The Walking Dead Season 7A (First half of Season 7), so look out for that!