Arrival – review

When 12 huge mysterious spacecraft arrival at various locations across the globe each country launches an investigation to understand who, what, where and why. On American soil linguistics expert (Amy Adams) and mathematician (Jeremy Renner) are part of the team attempting to communicate with the aliens.

I will start with the fact that have really enjoyed Denis Villeneuves previous films Prisoners and Sicario a lot, so I had very high expectations of Arrival. The movie is beautifully shot and framed, a real treat to look at. The sense of scale, grandeur, the unknown, fear, wonder and atmosphere in general are really something. However, I had serious problems with the plot in the final third of the film.

Much like Manchester By The Sea is Casey Afflecks film and Hacksaw Ridge is Andrew Garfields, Arrival is definitely Amy Adams film. Occupying nearly every scene, and often, rather than aliens, it is her reaction and facial expressions we are focused on. (She really was snubbed at this years Oscars).

While Arrival is a very clever and engaging, it keeps you watching and totally engrossed throughout. It is a movie very much about humans, communication and grief disguised as a sci-fi film about alien first contact. Which is fine, but (without giving any distinct spoilers) the more you think about the beginning of the film, once you know the ending it falls over a bit. Why did the aliens, make certain choices and go to such lengths if the purpose was so very exact. I don’t think humans would embrace determinism with such open arms. But no one else has mentioned this.

A beautifully shot and acted cerebral sci-fi film, to sit along side Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Contact and 2001 A Space Odyssey.  Shame I had problems with the human resolution.