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Arrival (2016)

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Written By:  Writer details not available
Details: 116 mins · English

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Codependence Day

I LOVED that this was a cerebral kind of drama instead of an actiony blockbuster. The whole thing kind of hangs on Amy Adams' performance, which was a steady low-key intensity that kept me fascinated throughout the entire film. The movie explores the concept of how understanding those who are different than us can mean the difference between destruction and exaltation. More movies like this, please!

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Gloomy and heady in just the right way.

Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival is gloomy sci-fi yarn that’s heady in just the right way. The film presents a fascinating deconstruction of language through the efforts of its protagonist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) to establish communication with a frightening alien race that has arrived on Earth with unclear intentions. As a linguist, seeing her figure out how to communicate with the aliens is a tense, yet engaging process that involves decoding symbols and creating tools for speaking. These emotionally intense endeavors combined with mysterious flashbacks to the daughter she lost make for a compelling narrative.

However, the emotional revenue that the film accrues from these scenes are later squandered in the movie’s final act, which turns into a cliched, rushed conclusion. When humans across the world suddenly decide they’re going to attack the aliens for appearing hostile, it doesn’t make sense, since the aliens have been peacefully trying to communicate for months. The way th...(more)

Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival is gloomy sci-fi yarn that’s heady in just the right way. The film presents a fascinating deconstruction of language through the efforts of its protagonist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) to establish communication with a frightening alien race that has arrived on Earth with unclear intentions. As a linguist, seeing her figure out how to communicate with the aliens is a tense, yet engaging process that involves decoding symbols and creating tools for speaking. These emotionally intense endeavors combined with mysterious flashbacks to the daughter she lost make for a compelling narrative.

However, the emotional revenue that the film accrues from these scenes are later squandered in the movie’s final act, which turns into a cliched, rushed conclusion. When humans across the world suddenly decide they’re going to attack the aliens for appearing hostile, it doesn’t make sense, since the aliens have been peacefully trying to communicate for months. The way that Louise stops people from attacking is cheap too, because she gets the information she needs to make a phone call to a Chinese general entirely from the future. This makes the reveal that Louise experiences her memories in a circle like the aliens pack less of a punch, which is a bummer once you realize that her daughter’s death comes in the future and she must live with that knowledge. Rushed ending aside, Arrival is still a satisfying sci-fi tale that takes an intellectual idea and successfully makes it engrossing with minimal special effects. You can’t ask for much more in sci-fi. (less)

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Clever and satisfying first contact story which is as much (if not more) about the humans as the aliens. Linguistics features less heavily than I'd been led to believe, but it packs an emotional punch, thanks mainly to Amy Adams' performance. Direction and music sustain a weird, tense atmosphere.

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Cast:

Small Ian Donnelly
Small Louise Banks
Small Colonel Weber
Small Agent Halpern
Small Captain Marks
Small General Shang
No_movie_poster Environmental Tech

Crew:

No_movie_poster Denis Villeneuve Director

Plot:

A linguist is recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications.