A flat out, stone cold, science fiction masterpiece (by ryanjmorris)
Louise Banks Amy Adams is a linguist who teaches at a College. One day, twelve giant spacecrafts appear in random locations across the world overnight. Louise's skills make her a requirement for the U.S forces, who recruit her - and mathematician Ian Donnelly Jeremy Renner - to attempt to decode and translate the language that the creatures inside the spacecrafts are using in order to prevent a global war. Alien invasion films have, frankly, been done to death. Arrival's script - penned by Eric Heisserer and adapted from Ted Chiang's short story "Story of Your Life" <more>
- is ingenious in that it finds an entirely new angle to focus the whole thing on. Rather than start a war and depict the bloodshed and trauma of an alien invasion, Arrival focuses on the struggle to communicate with the creatures dubbed "Heptapods" , and what the aftermath of this could lead to should it not go to plan. The whole thing is pieced together like a piece of art - the performances, dialogue, cinematography, soundtrack, screenplay, editing and direction all form one elegantly structured whole. It's a simply astonishing feat of film making.Arrival finds strength in just about everything it is comprised of. It does this to such an extent, in fact, that it's almost impossible to break it down into individual pieces. Amy Adams is superb here, giving a subdued but deeply moving performance. A lot of the film rests on her shoulders for its twists and turns to stick the landing, but she carries it without breaking a sweat. Never given any big Oscar-esque moments, Adams tells Louise's story in her softest moments and through her body language. It's an astoundingly delicate performance. Renner is also solid, and accompanies Adams nicely, even if he can't help but feel woefully overshadowed. Louise as a character is the film's most exciting element - a woman that uses her knowledge and skills to change the world in ways it has never been changed before, all of which comes down to language. When Arrival ends, you will spend hours thinking about yourself and the language you speak and use every day. The potential behind this story was astronomical, and it delivers in spades.Much like in his previous film Sicario, Villeneuve has created a masterful aesthetic in every way. The film's soundtrack, courtesy of the terrific Jóhann Jóhannsson, is a sublime array of thumping horn arrangements and softer pieces. The cinematography by Bradford Young is breathtaking, bringing in references and odes to other sci-fi classics notably 2001: A Space Oddysey but successfully acting as a perfect match to the tone of each sequence. The flashback sequences focused on Louise's young daughter look and feel like forgotten memories, while the moments inside the spacecrafts feel entirely alien. The production design is stunning, the large pitch black objects hovering over the cities feel instantly dark and foreboding, and the brief sights of the creatures we're given reveal something wholly original. In terms of technicalities and aesthetic, Arrival is a thing of beauty - a unique, visually resplendent film that you never want to take your eyes off of.But where Arrival hits perfection, though? The emotion. The power behind the story, and the direction the story takes in its tremendous final act. This is what makes Arrival such a phenomenal film. It sets up a story an already thought-provoking and well paced one, at that , and then smoothly transforms into something much bigger than you could ever have expected it to be. Another stroke of ingeniousness is that the film doesn't do this in one movement. Rather than drop one bombshell and change its direction, Arrival slowly sets up a series of events, then puts them in motion one by one, binding everything neatly around its central character. Y'know that feeling you get when an absolutely killer plot twist lands? Arrival will give you that feeling for the entirety of its final act. It is, of course, entirely possible to work out where it is headed. I did, as a matter of fact, and it just made the whole thing feel that little bit more special. You either work it out and watch as it comes to life before your eyes, or you cluelessly dedicate your time to its finale and feel mesmerised at each and every turn. Whichever you experience, it is wonderful.Arrival is a film that feels thrilling in its own unique little way. When it ends, and you discuss it for hours which is inevitable , you'll find yourself not focusing on the aliens. You'll be focusing on the emotional power of it all, on the human side of the story. I've deliberately left a lot out of this review, just to avoid spoiling the direction the film takes in its final act. The power behind the constant twists and turns is game changing; it proves that science fiction can be, despite what the name might imply, the most human genre to make a film about. Arrival has some stunning imagery and effects to play around with, but instead it focuses on language and conversation. It focuses on humanity and time and memory, and all that is worth fighting for on this planet. It is a breathtaking achievement, and one I already cannot wait to experience countless times again. In a year riddled with emotionless superhero films and crude comedies, Arrival is a godsend. Villeneuve has been on the verge of a masterpiece for the last few years, and he has finally landed it. Arrival is a film for the ages. Seek it out at all costs, and let it transport you across time and space only to bring you back down to Earth, evoking a feeling you may never have experienced before. This, people, this right here is why I adore cinema.
Best of the fairly rare "smart" sci fi forks... (by A_Different_Drummer)
To this reviewer, there are two kinds of sci fi.The common type dates back to Buck Rogers and has more modern iterations in Star Trek and Star Wars. Action and mayhem.The other type, the "smart" or intellectual type, is harder to classify. It has been around forever but appears and disappears randomly. Consider the DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL 1951/2008 or CUBE 1997 or the more recent MARTIAN 2015 .The second type is an oddity because most of the heavy lifting takes place in your brain, not on the screen.I consider ARRIVAL the best example of the "Smart" genre ever <more>
done.These films, because they are so subjective, require a central character that the viewer can identify with. Ms. Adams deserves special merit for picking this film up and carrying it to the finish line.A must see, for fans of "smart" scifi.
A film that not only tests the idea of aliens, but of humanity. (by laabstract)
Are we alone? This question has haunted mankind since they first gazed at the stars. "Arrival" answers this question with an abrupt no. Other films have tackled the question of humanity being alone in the cosmos, from classics like "The Day the Earth Stood Still" 1951 "The War of the Worlds" 1953 "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" 1977 "Arrival" deals with the idea of alien landings in a much different way than traditional Sci-Fi films. While the picture focuses on creatures from another planet, it still has the uncanny ability to <more>
question our own humanity. Although "Arrival" is set up like many other Sci-Fi films with a doctor being needed by the government to do some top secret work to save human kind, it is not a traditional Sci-Fi film. Being Denis Villeneuve's first leap into the Sci-Fi genre "Arrival" is a story of self-reflection which is helped along by an alien presence. For no particular reason 12 alien ships land all over the planet in seemingly random locations. The only true form of communication takes place from a single opening in the bottom of the alien vessel, where Linguist Dr. Louise Banks Amy Adams is tasked at trying to open up dialog with the visitors. Physicist Dr. Ian Donnelly Jeremy Renner is tasked with finding out how the alien vessel is capable of travel through space and how it seemingly defies gravity. The real question however remains in not how the aliens got to earth, but why? What sets this film apart from others in the genre is the way that it plays with the notion of time, love and the essence of being human. Which is showcased in director Denis Villeneuve and writer Eric Heisserer's effortless ability to jump from time and place. While trying to discover what the Aliens are, and their motivation, Dr. Louise Banks discovers what makes herself human and questions everything held sacred to her. "Arrival" is just as much a film about aliens landing on earth, as a film about self-discovery and the value placed on love and loss. Dr. Banks although participating in some of the most ground breaking work a linguist could ever be involved in, is haunted by the tragic loss of her daughter. This coupling of discovery and loss is reflected perfectly in the acting performance of Amy Adams who is often torn between several emotions throughout the film. Just as in his previous movies "Sicario" 2015 and "Prisoners" 2013 Denis Villeneuve employed composer Jóhann Jóhannsson who created an eerie and often unsettling composition for "Arrival". The sound pairs perfectly with the strange other worldly images of the aliens and their craft, the composition adds another layer of complexity to the already foreign and creepy world that is the alien craft. Visually the film is fantastic with an expert play on light and dark imagery, and the very deliberate use of color to emphasize certain characters and events. This transfers into the shadowy and smoke filled environment inside the alien vessel as well as the ink like Rorschach style alien writing. The visual effects used in Arrival give a sense of other worldly presence making the ship look as if it were a great technical feat of some unknown civilization, yet at the same time look organic as if were merely plucked from the surface of some far off planet. The aliens themselves look as if acquired from a Guillermo del Toro set, they are octopus like with long tentacle arms and gunmetal gray coloration, which begs the question of how a creature like this could have the dexterity to craft a sophisticated vehicle. The film comes together to create a package of visual, intellectual and audible bliss. The composition of Jóhann Jóhannsson is second to none and at times the sound plays a critical character in the film. The cast with inclusion of Michael Stuhlbarg and Forest Whitaker 2 actors not really know for Sci-Fi was a welcome addition. The dynamic between Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner seemed organic and a hallmark of great acting. But the stand out performance was that of Amy Adams who played a truly troubled and conflicted character.In "Sicario" Vileneuve finished the movie with unanswered questions and left a lot to the imagination. In "Arrival" the film ended with a perfectly packaged ending that felt too neat and tidy. The film went into some sophisticated ideas that dived into the essence of humanity, yet did not give the same license for abstract thought with the conclusion. Ultimately Arrival is not just an exploration of alien beings, it's an exploration at what makes us human, and the positive and negative aspects that are associated with that humanity.
The Arrival of a mind-blowing sci-fi masterpiece (by GODZILLA_Alpha_Predator)
Last night I saw Arrival at TIFF and my mind was blown. This is by far Villeneuve's biggest film he has tackled yet with so many strong universal themes but yet also feels very emotional and intimate from the perspective of Amy Adams's character.Unlike Villeneuve's previous works like Prisoners and Sicario, Arrival isn't a dark or twisted look at humanity. Instead, Villeneuve chooses to go for a lighter yet still serious tone with the mystery surrounding the arrival of the aliens. That is what makes Arrival so incredible. Villeneuve injects elements from Stanley Kubrick's <more>
2001 to make the story not only visual stunning but also makes it very captivating. Arrival does not rely on conflict between the humans and aliens to keep you invested and entertained because Arrival is against that trope. Each time our characters interact with the aliens, who remain covered in mist for most of the screen time, we as the audience gain something new in the form of knowledge and discovery rather then an action set piece. And when we return back to the outside world, we see through the media how each discovery affects it in different ways. The characters are one of the reasons why this film works. They are not treated as cliché plot devices but are just real people who just want answers to this situation. Amy Adams truly is the star of this film as she carries this film with a sense of gravitas but also vulnerability. She shows a woman who is at first terrified from meeting the newly arrived aliens but gains strength when she learns more. Flashbacks to a tragic event also reveal the struggle she goes through especially as the fate of the world is on her shoulders. Jeremy Renner does a good job as a physicist with a dry sense of humor. Forest Whittaker is also great a the general who isn't a trigger-happy idiot but someone whose job is just to get answers in order to find the safest and most humane solution possible.Arrival is a film that is more then just about language. It shows how divided we are as a species as each nation and culture interprets the alien's language in different meanings. And from this lack of clear understanding it creates fear and paranoia that could lead to global war. But Arrival shows that despite the mystery that surrounds the unknown, the future can be just as hopeful and bright as it might be scary and we should approach it with confidence.This has proved Denise Villeneuve has range in genre as a director. I look forward to seeing him continue his work in the sci fi genre with Blade Runner 2.
I saw this last night at the opening of the Mill Valley film Festival. Arrival is unlike any movie I've ever seen. It's about love, loss, tolerance, language and non-linear time, wrapped in a science fiction story about our first encounter with extraterrestrials. Under director Denis Villeneuve's masterful direction, Arrival takes its time to unfold, but it gradually gets under your skin and commands your attention. The last half hour was one of the most emotional experiences I've had at the movies in a long time. There aren't many movies these days that I would call <more>
required viewing, but this is one of them. And Amy Adams is Oscar-worthy in the lead role. In fact, Arrival could also win Oscars for original score, sound, direction and Best Picture.
A Science Fiction Masterpiece (by noahbeanslice-223-262332)
Arrival is the best sci-fi film I've seen in my 22-year-old lifespan. I haven't seen certain sci-fi films like They Live, Alien 3, or Metropolis, so I can speak only from the standpoint of someone who watches a shitload of narrative, documentary and experimental films. Some of my recent favorites are Holy Motors 2012 , Son of Saul 2015 , and The Look of Silence 2015 .I just saw Arrival two days ago at the Telluride Film Fest and everyone in the theater had their brains cheesed out at various points in the film. For people paying close attention to every frame, the rules of the film <more>
might become clear in the beginning sequences. For an Average Joe moviegoer like me, the film is a slow, natural process of discovery from the first scene to the last. The influences of Stanley Kubrick on science fiction films has been noted time after time, but Arrival picks up its Kubrick vibes with it's slow sense of discovery, even if Amy Adams and her technology moves around the screen more frantically than 2001: A Space Odyssey. That's why I respect this film and also why I like 10 Cloverfield Lane. A lot of sci-fi films like the new Star Trek released this summer don't create that unfolding sense of science/alien-related mystery. The way information is revealed and presented leaves us begging for more answers, and boy does Arrival deliver. Oscar-worthy for sure, especially in production design/special effects/sound. Don't blow it, go see it November 11th or whenever it's coming to your town. Bring earplugs.Just kidding.But seriously.
Saw this at TIFF and was incredibly impressed. This movie has all the right components of an exceptional film - great cast, great director, and a great script that took a somewhat tired premise and turned out a script full of thought-provoking substance, and a highly original twist.This movie's true beauty was how it masterfully balanced the plot and sub-plot throughout the entire film - to the point that the build-up to the sub-plot which also ends up being the twist at the end is done very subtly throughout the movie without the viewer even knowing for the most part. It's only in <more>
the last half hour that Villeneuve starts presenting it's relevance for to the viewer. However, the primary plot does not suffer, it's only enriched.This movie was an exceptional combination of great story-telling and a cast and crew at the top of their game delivering an entertaining film that will have audiences talking about the questions it raises.
An Emotional refereshing Sci-Fi movie (by tagerjd)
Believe the hype because Arrival was great! The film was able to pay omoge to other Sci-Fi films while remaining it own thing. The way the story is told is much different from other Sci-Fi movies involving extra terrestrials such as Independence Day, which makes the film all the interesting. The way the score was used was also fantastic, and will stay in your head long after you have seen it. The performances in the movie particularly Amy Adams were all very good. The film also had implications and subtitles that will stick with you as well. The film manages to be smart without making the <more>
plot overly complex while still remaining fun. The only real issues I can find in this film is that there are convenices, as well as a bit to much chesse in some areas, but it never ditracted from my enjoyment of the movie. Overall I highly recommend you check this movie out and I'm giving Arrival an 8/10!
Denis Villeneuve's Arrival is a study of how humans communicate and attempt to understand each other. It examines human relationships that are endured through time, bringing into perspective the intricacies of our language and our interactions with something we don't understand. Only lastly is it a sci-fi movie about extraterrestrial life. Villeneuve has proved to be a director of utmost talent and diversity, but also the one that surrounds himself with equal talent, the Arrival being no different. Young's Selma; A Most Violent Year cinematography and style in depicting the <more>
research groups enter the mysterious ships produces some of the most groundbreaking sci-fi scenes that have ever been shot. The ships themselves look like timeless, shapeless monoliths. They defy the laws of physics and seem to have their own atmosphere inside. It is truly a grandiose, terrifying, unknown object. The Aliens inside those ships as well as the surroundings seem to raise more questions then answers, while the ships gloriously 'stand' on the backdrop of incredible landscapes, such as oceans, mountains and panoramic plains.Jóhann Jóhannsson is a long time favorite of Villeneuve, producing scores for Sicario and Prisoners. In Arrival his score elevates the scenes, adding tension utilizing mostly classical, timeless sounds. It is some of the best work Johann has done to date. Most importantly however Arrival brings a story that is original, beautifully ambitious and most surprisingly relatable and real. Real enough to believe that if this had happened tomorrow, the outcomes would not have been much different. It might however be that ambition that sometimes separates Arrival from being a true masterpiece. We witnesses the Arrival of the Alien ships through the eyes of a linguist professor, Dr. Louise Banks, convincingly played by Amy Adams. Louise is constantly haunted by a series of flashbacks depicting her daughter's life & early death. It is unknown how this is connected to the Arrival, but this relationship establishes the infrastructure for what Denis is possibly trying to convey, the pain and joy that language, time & communication bring. The aliens don't seem to be hostile; rather, they are trying to say something that a human can't translate. This is where Louise is required, trying to communicate with the aliens to understand the purpose of the arrival. However as the inability to understand grows, so do human frustrations, leading to inevitable disputes, wars and drastic actions. In Arrival we see China as the first country to decide to take actions against the aliens, with no apparent reason. In a comically ironic scene, we see the Chinese leader give the Aliens 24 hours to vacate before starting the attacks. Communications stall as all the research groups go offline, while Banks and her team race against time looking for answers. Some parts of the Arrival echo the Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsky brothers. There, Aliens have come and left, leaving behind mysterious 'zones' filled with objects that only 'Stalkers' dare to explore. The metaphor that humans perceive aliens similarly to how insects perceive humans & human objects, imagining a group of ants stumbling upon an abandoned roadside picnic, full of mysterious objects and sights. Yet the message of the Arrival is different. It originates from a kinder place, it projects the need for working together, for using language to try and understand others. In this sense the sci-fi aspect of Arrival can be seen almost as an allegory to say that as humans we owe it to each other to communicate more before taking actions, regardless of how painful the outcomes might be. I fear many will critique The Arrival for this 'kindness', for deviating from a more traditional resolution, but it's refreshing. That a director is able to portray an Alien arrival in such a rational, artistic and melancholic way is a tribute to his strength of character.