Dir. Denis Villeneuve
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
Read the newspaper version of this review: The Biggleswade Chronicle
“Language is the first weapon drawn in a conflict.”
Arrival – possibly my favourite ABBA album and now it’s been made into a feature film… Oh wait. This is a whole different thing!?
Director Denis ‘Prisoners’ Villeneuve’s Arrival is a new take on humanity’s first contact with extra-terrestrial life, as witnessed through the experiences of language expert Louise Banks (Amy ‘Nocturnal Animals’ Adams). Banks is given the task for trying to communicate with our alien visitors – no small feat seeing as these Heptapods are octopus kinda creatures that ‘speak’ in booming resonance tones unlike anything on earth.
that's no moon...
As Mankind reacts with suspicion, aggression and fear, the world is brought to the verge of global war as everyone scrambles for answers, can Banks find a way to save the day? What will it take for us to put our puny squabbles aside and rescue humanity from annihilation?
Adams is great in the lead role giving a nuanced and moving performance as Louise and she is ably supported by math and physics expert Ian Donnelly (Jeremy ‘The Avengers’ Renner). Together these two desperately try to connect with the aliens in order to ascertain just ‘what do they want with us?’
Also on hand is Colonel Weber of the U.S. Army (Forest Whitaker) who is under pressure to get meaningful results from the communication process. His men, however, are getting jumpy and keen to blow the uninvited visitors back to out space.
but what are you?
The Heptapods themselves are wonderfully realized and are worthy additions to the growing catalogue of cinematic aliens. For creatures that are so very obscurely different to us there are even moments when you’ll find yourself caring about the main duo who Donnelly affectionately nicknames ‘Abbott and Costello’.
Arrival, however, isn’t a ‘shooty’ sci-fi, this is a meticulous, deeper, thought-provoking communicate-em-up which is tinged with a haunting melancholy. Don’t let that put you off though, as it is rare to find a film so well made and so engaging despite its slow pace and ponderous build up.
there mostly come at night, mostly
Even those looking for another Independence Day sci-fi action romp should readjust their expectations and take this trip as the plot sees we humans struggling to come to terms with suddenly not being alone in the universe. Arrival will certainly leave you wondering what you would do should we ever find ourselves in such a situation and it may well stimulate meaningful conversations with your loved ones about the nature of life, destiny and hope.
Arrival is mind expanding, jaw-dropping essential viewing for all sentient creatures.
Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(5 - Incredible beasts from outer space and where to find them)...
Awesomeness öööö – The 'dialogue' scenes are bewitching
Laughs öö – Not a great deal of fun
Horror öö – Unnerving but not too grim
Spiritual Enlightenment öööö - let's live in peace?