Denis Villeneuve has become one of the best directors working today. With films like Prisoners, Enemy and now Arrival, he has once again delivered a taught, suspenseful science-fiction film that poses important questions as well makes you think.
Arrival tells the story of an alien species that arrive on earth as an elite team led by scientist Louise Banks is sent to communicate and confirm whether or not if their intentions are hostile.
Amy Adams gives the best performance of her entire career. She’s incredible in this film and her character is so broken and tortured that you instantly feel for her as an audience member and it makes her completely interesting and the entire movie rests on Amy Adams shoulders and she does a fantastic job leading this film. She’s Oscar Worthy and you can expect her to get nominated for best actress during Oscar season.
Jeremy Renner is very good but doesn’t have much to do. He’s there to help Amy Adams and is a potential love interest but his character wasn’t as interesting or as developed as she was. Forest Whitaker was also great as he usually is as the military officer that needs Louise’s help in order to contact with the aliens. He didn’t have a huge role but it was great to see him in a science-fiction film before seeing him in Rogue One.
The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous and every shot is carefully crafted and beautifully done. The sweeping landscapes of where we first see the alien spacecraft is simply incredible and the music makes it claustrophobic and absolutely terrifying. Arrival realistically depicts what an encounter would be like if ever an alien species would arrive on earth even though its hard to say how the army would react to this sort of situation.
The designs of the alien we’re incredible. They looked frightening, realistic and they we’re something entirely new that we haven’t seen before on screen. They looked awesome and since its unclear what they’re intentions are for the majority of the film, they we’re completely menacing and flat out terrifying.
As for the film’s minor flaws, it’s perhaps a tad a bit too long and it’s definitely a slow burn and while the pacing didn’t bother me, don’t go in this movie expecting it to be Independence Day or Edge of Tomorrow. It’s not an action movie. It’s a character driven film with science-fiction elements in it. The movie is about Amy Adams’s character struggle and her plight. The real reason why the aliens are on earth is sort of glossed over quickly, despite it being the focused point of the marketing. It also asks you to take a big leap off faith near the third act, even though this movie is grounded in reality, but it still makes sense if you pay attention and you pick up clues as the movie unfolds.
Overall, Arrival is a fascinating character driven piece that is beautifully shot, thought provoking, brilliantly acted and plays as a unique science-fiction film that raises some important questions as well as makes you think and keeps you engage in the process.