Sunday, November 13, 2016


Movie Name: Arrival
Year of Release: 2016
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Stars: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark O'Brien, Tzi Ma, Abigail Pniowsky, Jadyn Malone, Julia Scarlett Dan, Larry Day
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 10
View Trailer Here

Denis Villeneuve's impeccable career continues, following the great "Sicario" and the phenomenal "Enemy" (which I placed on the list of the best films of 2014). This time around he focuses on a superbly written screenplay by Eric Heisserer (based on a story written by Ted Chiang). The film details the events that follow when mysterious spacecrafts enter our planet and just hover in 12 different locales spread around Earth. Trying to successfully establish contact with the visitors, the military in the US reach out to Louise Banks, a professor of linguistics who has previously helped them with translations. Louise's life has been marked by personal tragedy, and she lives by herself in a somewhat secluded area. Louise is part of a team, also including physicist Ian Donnelly. Through her persistence, Louise manages to create contact and starts deciphering their language, as the clock is ticking when so many nations are ready to jump in and start attacking these unknown visitors. Louise's vision finally manages to help her understand what these visitors want and how humans can benefit from this arrival.
Denis Villeneuve has built a career based on nuanced screenplays, where everything and everyone is always more than what they seem. The characters that populate his films are always more than a simple cliche, and that's the case again with "Arrival". Of all his most recent films, this may actually be his best yet, one that successfully marries an emotional core, with a message anchored on alien visitors that approach humankind to reveal how much we actually need to collaborate with each other as fellow human beings and not as competitive drones and nations. It's a film about the nature of communication, both as metaphor and a literal mechanism: the way the characters interact with each other as the film evolves changes, as they understand more about each other and themselves. In a way, this film is all that Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar" wanted to be, but never was - it's cerebral without being cold, and it's heartfelt without being schmaltzy. It's a stunning film anchored by a terrific performance from Amy Adams, with the beautiful cinematography from Bradford Young and score from Johann Johansson. A truly great film worth watching!