Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Arrival - Movie Review

Starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker and Michael Stuhlbarg.
Written by Eric Heisserer.
Directed by Denis Villenueve.


Denis Villenueve (Incendies, Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario) is quickly becoming one of my must-see directors. Actually, he's already there. I'm excited for where he could go.

This film is about an alien invasion of Earth, but it's really about Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams). In the beginning we watch her with her daughter. We watch her daughter grow to be a teenager and then die from disease. The next time we see Louise, we see the sadness in her eyes, and we see the semi-lonely existence she's carved out for herself as a college linguistics professor. But as she goes to teach, most of her class is gone. Why? There's been an invasion.

Due to previous work she'd done for the government, Louise is at the top of the list for the military to seek as a linguistic expert. The aliens are making sounds, and they want her to determine if Earthlings can somehow communicate with them.

The movie takes a slow, reverant approach to the reveal of the aliens. (I'm really glad the previews never spoiled what they fully look like.) Once she sees them, she goes through the process of trying to figure out how they communicate.

The movie is about the process, about finding common trends or signals in order to establish communication. There are 12 alien ships hovering over different parts of the globe. Each country that has one is trying to determine the best course of action. Should we preemptively strike in case their intentions are malevolent?

This movie is the antidote to Independence Day: Resurgence's summer stupidity. It's smart sci-fi that you hear about from time to time.

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