Arrival (2016)

Language is the cornerstone of civilization and the first weapon drawn in any conflict.

Arrival is the latest film from director Denis Villeneuve, the man behind Sicario and Prisoners, based on the short story “Story of your Life” by author Ted Chiang. It stars Amy Adams as Dr. Louise Banks, a linguistics professor and Jeremy Renner as Ian Donnelly, a mathematician, brought together by Colonel Wieber (Forest Whitaker) and the government to help them discover these extraterrestrial spacecrafts in twelve different locations around the world.

First off, I love this movie. This is possibly the best genuine sci-fi film of this century. What I mean by this is that they aren’t Star Wars or Aliens. They deal with a genuine scientific concept or technology and it could be real or potentially real. I’ll try not to dig deep into spoilers as I discuss this movie. So, let’s go.

The opening montage centered around Amy Adams, instantly grabbed me and didn’t let go until the end credits. Amy Adams was incredible as the main character. Most of the film centers on her and she nails the performance. Jeremy Renner did his job well although he’s more of a background character. Forrest Whitaker was also fine. The ending isn’t like any other Sci-Fi film either. It actually gives proper closure to Amy Adams character.

Compared to Denis Villeneuve’s other films specifically Sicario and Prisoners, the only two I have seen from him, you just feel the tension throughout the film. I think Villenueve does a great job of building suspense and that remains true in this film. Jóhann Jóhannsson hypnotizes us in this film. The sound design was what really stood out to me. Whenever there are shots of the aliens, the sounds that they edit in really make your hair stand on end. Cinematography was great throughout. Whenever there were shots of the spacecraft looming over Earth, it was breath-taking. Cinematographer Bradford Young did a fantastic job, the shots look beautiful and intense.

The film shares aspects of both Interstellar and Gravity. Without giving too much away, Gravity and Arrival both deal heavily with the personal conflict going on inside of the main character. It’s not like Interstellar, but I think Arrival also succeeds at getting you to really care about the main character and what happens to them. It is more like Contact than to Interstellar or Gravity. The film really centers around Amy Adams’ character trying to understand the aliens. It was a great experience seeing Amy Adams’s personal journey of the character, her life and the way she looks at it from a human to an alien point of view. Denis Villeneuve is one of the best new directors working today and I have faith, that he will do Blade Runner 2049 justice. I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Amy Adams or Villenueve get an Oscar nod. Overall, this film is outstanding and I enjoyed this film so much. Amy Adams is incredible and love this character driven film. The opening/closing scene will bring tears to your eyes, it moved me in such a way words can’t explain, and the twist in the third act caught me by surprise. It feels real and intelligent in so many ways, I am so happy I was able to see it so early. Go watch it this weekend, you won’t regret it.

SuperSam Rating: 10/10.

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