Arrival is the latest movie from acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve. It stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker. This is an alien invasion movie but not one that we have become accustomed to in more recent years. There are no big explosions or action scenes. It is a much more thoughtful science fiction film. When 12 mysterious spherical objects arrive on Earth, the world’s nations don’t know what to make of the situation. All the objects do is hover over the ground and open up at scheduled times. So how do people react when they think they might be being invaded but not sure?
Amy Adams plays a linguistics expert Louise Banks is brought in to help decipher the aliens’ language. Jeremy Renner is mathematician Ian Donnelly also brought along by Army Colonel GT Weber played by Whitaker. The only thing known about the aliens is that they protect themselves with a barrier and communicate with symbols that looks like rohrscach tests. This is also happening throughout the world as the world’s nations are trying to be in contact with one another about what they discover but also keeping secrets.
The movie is a bit tricky to go into detail about as there is much nuance throughout and subtle twists and turns. This is the Amy Adams show though. The movie is focused all around her character and what this event is having on her life. If there were a weaker actress in the lead, it probably would collapse under its weight. Renner and Whitaker are always top notch actors and do not disappoint here. It’s also great to see Renner in a non action or character and playing a scientist.
Why the aliens are here and what they are all about is a mystery that goes on throughout the movie. So when it is finally revealed, it answers questions yet still leaves many more in the air. It might leave some wanting more but that is not this type of movie. This is certainly Villeneuve always does as he always leaves things in the air and leaving things up for viewers to answer. A special mention should go out to cinematographer Bradford Young who highlights the beauty in the simplicity in the areas that the alien ships land near.
Arguably this is one of my favorite films of the year. It makes you think and does not hold your hand. The actors and not even just the main three all give nuanced and great performances. The direction and cinematography are excellent and just add that extra layer to make the film stand out. It is highly recommended and should be checked out and not just by science fiction fans but by those who enjoy great storytelling.