Arrival is a 2016 film directed by Denis Villeneuve, starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker. When twelve mysterious spacecrafts land across the globe, it’s up to linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) to decipher their language and figure out why they’re here. But will she crack the code before other countries instigate an attack?
I want to say so much about Arrival, because there is so much worth saying… but it’s also a film that deserves to be seen free of expectation or knowledge– and talking about it in depth will ruin the crescendo, so let’s stick to the basics.
Arrival is what you want in a science fiction film. It will break your expectations about storytelling and everything you think you know, leaving you with a literal “Oh my GOD” moment during the final act. It’s refreshing to see, given that the spectrum of sci-fi movies lately (and movies in general) tends to leave much to be desired. You’ll be confused, that’s for sure– the difference is that it’ll force you to think rather than leave you feeling as though you’ve missed vital information.
Arrival takes the time to develop characters. It takes the time to develop a tone. It takes the time to focus on well-established shots in order to invoke a feeling. For some, this can result in some slower moments– but appreciate them when they happen. Oh, and the performances are phenomenal. I’m going to go on record saying that this is probably Amy Adams’ best performance to date. The emotions she manages to display are beyond the realm of expectation.
Keep in mind that this is a thriller/drama more akin, despite what the trailer makes it out to be. Oh, and expect to cry and feel broken by the end. It’ll be worth it though, I promise.