“Arrival” stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Tzi Ma. Released on November 11, 2016, the film has humanity scrambling for answers when a bunch of unknown spacecrafts landed on Earth.
The film is directed by Denis Villeneuve, who also directed films such as Prisoners, Enemy, and Sicario. It is based on the short story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang. Villeneuve is the type of director whose vision is filled with grounded storytelling and realism. Prisoners and Sicario were some of the best-looking, yet disturbing, films I have ever seen, which is why I was looking forward to this film. Unlike the other films that Villeneuve directed, which were dark dramas, this is a drama with science fiction elements that could determine whether or not he can handle this type of genre as well. I won’t take too much of your time with this review, so I’m just going to say that Villeneuve delivered another smash hit.
There’s so much stuff in this film that captivated me in a very unique way, such as the story. The story explores humanity’s struggle to find the reason why those strange beings are residing on different continents around the globe. This is a more grounded take of the subject without any superheroes or giant transforming robots, which was handled with absolute care thanks to Villeneuve’s direction and Eric Heisserer’s screenplay. Amy Adams was fantastic as Louise Banks, a linguist who is assigned to decipher the aliens‘ language. This is the type of character who is smart and knows how to take her time understanding their translations, and Adams fits that role perfectly. Renner and Whitaker were also great as Ian Donnelly and Colonel Weber, respectively. If you’re familiar with Villeneuve’s other works, he likes to tell stories at a slower pace. This film is no different. If you’re not a fan of slow-paced movies, this one may not be for you. Another aspect that I loved in this film was the cinematography. It brilliantly captured the tone and style that I’d come to expect from Villeneuve, and the visuals really helped in creating a realistic experience as if it was actually happening.
Overall, with its smart performances, fantastic cinematography, great visuals, and a story that handles both realism and science fiction, “Arrival” puts the ‘wow’ factor back into the sci-fi genre. This film proves that Denis Villeneuve is still on top of his game and I’m pretty excited to see what he can do with Blade Runner 2049, which comes out next year. If you’re a fan of Villeneuve’s other works, you will not be disappointed with this one.