Sunday, November 13, 2016

Movie Review: Arrival

A beautiful and ambitious film, Arrival hit theaters this weekend with a remarkable story and stunning visual effects. Based on the short story "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang, this film directed by Denis Villeneuve shows the potential of thoughtful and complex science fiction. Viewers are introduced to Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) as she raises her daughter through a rapid montage that ends in tragedy. The haunting photography from cinematographer Bradford Young adds to the emotional impact.

As the story moves ahead, aliens arrive in strange and large pods that can only be entered during certain time intervals. Louise is recruited by Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) to decipher the alien language and figure out their purpose. With the help of theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), they enter the pod and begin to communicate with the spider or squid-like species. 

The effects are amazing and awe-inspiring but the story is more personal and touches on themes of language and the development of one's brain during the process of learning. It also explores time and knowledge of the future reflecting on the choices we make and how we perceive the events of our life. This film is an example of great writing meeting great directing with stellar acting on top to make for one of my favorite films of the year that is both moving and entertaining. 

Villeneuve has impressed me with multiple films like Sicario and Prisoners while Enemy just went right over my head. This movie is definitely the most ambitious yet from this intelligent director and proves that he can tackle a multitude of genres and still have success. Science fiction has come a long way though films have not always been as quick to pick up on the change. I think that Arrival's success will open a floodgate of great sci-fi reaching the screen.

Amy Adams also delivered an impressive performance as the centerpiece to the emotional core of the film that delivers a heart-wrenching ending that won't fail to move many viewers. As of now, Arrival has had a decent showing at the box office which could lead to more films like this being produced hopefully in the future. 

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