Arrival is the latest film from Sicario director Denis Villeneuve and tells the events unfolding on earth after the Arrival (wahey) of aliens on earth. However this is not an alien invasion film like Independence Day, this film focuses on Amy Adams’ who plays a leading linguist expert who is brought in to try and establish communication with the aliens.
I personally really enjoyed last years Sicario, so i was excited for this Sci-Fi step in Villeneuve’s career, and once i saw the overwhelmingly positive reviews my excitement peaked. Having seen the film Villeneuve is really one to watch and he is one of the most talented directors working in the industry today. His directing combined with cinematographer Bradford Young make this one of the most spectacular looking films of the year.Some of the shots are beautiful, and cinematographer Young has got a bright future, particularly with the Han Solo movie in the future for him.
The film is slow paced throughout, but it rarely feels like it is dragging, and that is a real credit to the director. The build up of tension all through the film right up until the 3rd act revelation is brilliantly done and I was hooked through the film trying to figure out where this was going to end up. No spoilers here, but that revelation really does make you re-evaluate the entire film, and whilst some of the answers we get wasn’t 100% satisfying for me, it really does give you something to think about.
Lois Lane meets Hawkeye
On par with the direction and cinematography on show in Arrival is Amy Adams performance in the lead role. She carries the movie and the main reason we buy into the third act reveal is because she makes you invested and forces you to care about this character which shows her strength as an actress.
Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker are the other 2 main characters,and both give good performances and support Amy Adams well, even if their characters don’t have a great deal to do without her. They serve their purpose of giving us a reason to hear explanations from Amy Adams about why she is doing what shes doing, and both have enough charisma to sell their roles in the story are actually needed, and not just shoehorned in to aid exposition.
Lights, Camera, No action
Some of the trailers for this film may have led some to think this film would have a bit of action in it, but in actual fact there is very little in the way of action and fighting. The threat of violence is a lingering theme, and the film is more about how humans react and deal with the arrival of aliens than it is about the aliens intentions.
The themes touched upon in this really do shine a light on the way we as humans interact with each other, as well as how we discuss and approach change. At the risk of making this movie review political, it is quite fitting that a film that urges us as to work together and discuss our differences in opinion, rather than react out of fear or ignorance comes out at a time such as this. Perhaps this is a movie that’s themes need to be explored more in the real world than any other in 2016.
I know what you’re thinking..”Enough meaningful message bollocks Charlie, is Arrival worth seeing!?”
For me the answer is definitely, provided you know what you are getting yourself into. This is more of a chin scratcher than a popcorn muncher, and those of you going hoping to see multiple explosions are best going back to see Doctor Strange for a second time. But if you are happy with a excellently put together film with a message and a clever twist, Arrival has arrived.
I promise I will get better at those puns.
9/10 – One of the best this year so far.