Director: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Michael Stuhlbarg
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Country of Origin: USA 2016 106 mins.
Released by e One
Ambitious, inventive, original and visually captivating, Denis Villeneuve’s (Sicario, Prisoners, Incendies) 'Arrival' is an intelligent sci-fi that hits the mind and heart. Based on Ted Chiang's award winning 'Story of Your Life,' it looks at how we deal with something unexpected, the unusual, aliens and the use of language and time that enables us to realise our world. It's all about communication. Language controls us.
Linguistics expert Dr Louise Banks, superbly played by Amy Adams and mathematician Ian Donelly (Jeremy Renner) have been enlisted by Colonel Webber (Forest Whitaker) to decipher the language and determine why the extra-terrestrial 'heptapods' landed in rural Montana and also in 11 different places in the world. Is this an alien invasion? Communication is the key to understanding why the extra-terrestrials named Abbot and Costello by Banks and Donelly are here. Translate the clouds of ink they write with, communicate and decipher the sounds from beyond and prevent conflict as the military move towards a let loose the cavalry, all guns blazing. Is this global war? Are Russia and China ready to let loose their ferocious fire power? How do we deal with something different, an alien? Come out all guns blazing. There's panic in the streets and the space ships hover. I'm not spoiling it by offering more.
Johann Johannsson's haunting score, Bradford Young's cinematography, Amy Adams strong centre piece role as the skilled linguistic professor and Denis Villeneuve's imaginative, intelligent slant away from the traditional sci-fi alien film draws the viewer in and is cinema that challenges, poses questions and grabs you.