Arrival Review: Cerebral sci-fi that hits deep emotion

‘Arrival’ is one of the best movies of the year and I don’t say that lightly. While I will not be majorly spoiling anything in this review it’s hard to review this movie without discussing its subject matter. If you already know you want to see this film stop reading now and come back after seeing it as it is best to see this movie blind.

We start with Amy Adams who has suffered a tragedy and is working as a teacher. Many unidentified objects land on Earth and having previously helped the military with some insurgents using her knowledge of language she is recruited to be on the front line of communication with the extraterrestrials. And that is all I’m going to say.

While I never felt bored or wanted the plot of ‘Arrival’ to move quicker the first act of the film does move at a fairly slow pace but it is necessary. The second act really picks up but it is the third act that literally glues you to your seat, makes you sit up and pay attention. This is very much a cerebral sci-fi, you can’t snooze through this film otherwise it will lessen both your enjoyment and understanding of the plot, particularly the third act. Overall I was extremely impressed with the twists and turns and absolutely loved the conclusion. This is a truly unique sci-fi film and you don’t see many of those these days.

One thing I have to talk about is how thought out and life like the extraterrestrials were. There are only two film that I feel do extraterrestrials right, this film and ‘District 9’. The reason both these films are so successful with making us identify and believe extraterrestrial beings is that they start with basic human emotion and work from there. It’s really effective.

Amy Adams gives quite possibly the performance of her career proving why she is an A-list actor. The subtlety and emotion she brings is riveting. Forest Whitaker doesn’t have much to do here but gives a solid performance. Jeremy Renner provides some comic relief at times which he does well but Amy Adams quite simply steals the show.

Denis Vileneuve directed ‘Arrival’ along with ‘Sicario’ one of my favourite films of 2015. I actually saw it as an Odeon Screen Unseen and from the word go the cinematography was phenomenal and that follows suit here. The most memorable shot is when we first see the unidentified object, we get a gorgeous zoomed out shot as we see the clouds surrounding the mysterious object. It’s stunning! The cinematography impresses throughout and every shot is meticulous and necessary which is why Denis Vileneuve is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. I am very excited to see what he does next.

‘Arrival’ is absolutely one of the best movies of 2016. An intelligent sci-fi which flips the typical alien invasion plot trope on its head in the best way, a truly welcome surprise in a genre that is losing its originality. Please see ‘Arrival’ before it leaves cinemas soon.


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