MOVIE REVIEW – ARRIVAL
One of the great strengths of the science fiction genre is its ability to make us think about our past, our present and of course our future. Sometimes the biggest element missing in a film about close encounters with aliens is the humanity aspect. Thankfully, much like original The Day the Earth Stood Still, that’s not the case with Arrival starring Amy Adams whose terrific performance should lead to an Oscar nod. Warning, spoilers ahead…
Adams stars as Louise Banks, an expert linguist who is brought in by Colonel Weber (Forrest Whitaker) of the U.S. government to help communicate when a mysterious spacecraft (12 to be exact), make their presence known across the globe. Now a potential war might be imminent when China’s military leader (Tzi Ma) breaks off communication with the alien entity and other nations follow suit. It’s the fear of the unknown that leads mankind down a dangerous and catastrophic road.
Banks seems more fascinated than I would say fearful of the aliens. Their arrival alone showcases their immense power but it’s their curiosity of us and their participation in learning more about humans that grabs hold of Banks and drives her determination along with physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), to solve the mystery of why. Why are they here and what is their purpose for earth and its inhabitants? Arrival has more to do with who we are as oppose to who they are. We see things through Banks’ eyes and what appeared to be personal grief that we later realize is far more complex and a catalyst of a larger story. Very well orchestrated by director Villeneuve.
In a world where the lack of communication is all too apparent, Arrival teaches us that by simply listening and understanding each other, we can accomplish so much. It also begs the question, what if you had the ability to see your future, would you still make the same decisions regardless? I just love films that challenge our emotions and our way of looking at life. As for Amy Adams, she is just perfect in this role. She is one of Hollywood’s best actresses who gives us a range of vulnerability and toughness that so far can master.
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forrest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg and Tzi Ma
PG13 116 Mins
ARRIVAL – **** (out of 5 stars)
May the Dork be with you,
The Dork Knight