For a movie about aliens, Arrival spends most of its time focusing on humans. From the minute it starts it’s clear that Arrival will be more insightful than usual. Those looking for an action flick or sci-fi thriller full of explosions and cheesy dialogue, will be very disappointed. On the other hand, those craving a deep dive into human connection will be happy to watch Arrival.
When various unidentified objects touch down in seemingly random parts of the world, an elite team – led by linguist Louise Banks – is brought together to investigate. Saying more than that could spoil the experience, Arrival is at its best when it teases you with what is to come. Denis Villeneuve creates an excellent sci-fi experience, that besides looking good doesn’t get boggled down by the scientific. It is similar to interstellar with its beautiful visuals and approach to deeper themes. However, much more successful in balancing the science and the drama.
Villeneuve perfectly sets the tone from the get go. As a viewer you accept that this will be a movie lacking in explosions and actions scenes. It doesn’t need them nor is it that kind of movie. Arrival is surprisingly insightful and packs an unexpected emotional punch. Specially because it chooses to focus on humanity, how we communicate, how we strive to belong, how disconnected we are from each other. Acting performances are solid throughout. However, this is truly Amy Adams movie. Her performance does not surprise us as she has long been on our list of favorite actresses.
The slow and steady direction of Villeneuve may frustrate the more impatient viewer. If you prize scene composition and directors taking their time to build up a scene, you will have plenty to chew on. Arrival is without a doubt one of the best movies of 2016, if you love sci-fi and thought provoking movies, this one is for you.
Arrival is without a doubt one of the best movies of 2016, if you love sci-fi and thought provoking movies, this one is for you.