Film Review – Arrival (2016)


Title – Arrival (2016)

Director – Denis Villeneuve (Enemy)

Cast – Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg

Plot – Linguist Dr. Louise Banks (Adams) is recruited by the government alongside scientist Ian Donnelly (Renner) to communicate with an alien race that has planted ships around the world in what could be a potentially deadly attack on the human race.

“There are days that define your story beyond your life, like the day they arrived”

Review by Eddie on 15/11/2016

If we’re lucky, a handful of titles per year offer movie lovers a chance to get to witness something that’s original, thought-provoking and full of heart.

They’re rare movie treats in today’s climate and events that should be savored.

Arrival is one of these such movie treats; an intellectually intelligent Sci-fi that’s highly likely to be regarded as a genre classic in the years soon to come.

Directed by Dennis Villeneuve (who has quickly become one of the industry’s greatest current filmmakers), who here worked with screenwriter Eric Heisserer in adapting Ted Chiang’s short story for the big screen, has created a Sci-fi event free of what you’d call large scale alien infused spectacle but instead filled a film with a quietly powerful narrative and ultimately stunningly moving centre that drives this unique vision to grand and near close to perfect Sci-fi heights.

Centered around the intriguing prospect of Amy Adams language expert Dr. Louise Banks, whose battling to figure out a way to communicate with an alien race that has decided to pay earth a potentially deadly visit, Arrival’s narrative is best left relatively unspoken about as its complexities will be enjoyed that much more by those that know only minimal details about where Villeneuve and his talented cast are taking us.

Anchored by what could well very be an Oscar nominated turn, Arrival rides off the back of Amy Adams central turn and while the increasingly impressive actress is ably supported by Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker, Arrival really is her film.

Giving us a character who consistently surprises, just like the film itself, Dr. Banks is a likeable and believable creation whose dealings with the newly discovered race will encapsulate you with nothing more than whiteboard, a finch and some stoic determination.

It’s mesmerizing in an hypnotic like fashion in the way in which we are taken along for the journey of these other worldly language-filled encounters and it’s  an added joy that we’re never fully sure of the alien’s intentions until very late in the piece or fully understand where Villeneuve’s plan for this poignant tale has been taking us until it dawns on us like the aliens mission late in the picture.

Ever so slightly held back by a rather forgettable collection of supporting characters, Arrival is comprised of an on form cast, vividly captured images from D.O.P Bradford Young and a haunting Jóhann Jóhannsson score all that back Villeneuve’s overall vision to great results.

This alien invasion film with brilliantly constructed differences is a cinematic joy and this top class 2016 experience is but a further reason as to why we should now be signaling out Villeneuve as a potentially all-time great filmmaker, and why we should be excited for his next Blade Runner film that should very well be, quite the big screen marvel.

4 ½ inconvenient hazmat suits out of 5

51 responses to “Film Review – Arrival (2016)

  1. Pete Johnson, over at his beetleypete blog, also wrote a positive review of this film. He encouraged me to check it out. So I’ll definitely have to put this film on my “must see” list.

  2. While I enjoyed this movie and was happy to see a different take on the alien invasion plot, with some beautiful cinematography, I unfortunately found it utterly predictable and don’t believe the acting was anything extraordinary.

    • Hi mate, sad you didn’t like it like I did but I was really caught under this ones spell. I had no idea where the story was heading until very late in the piece and I especially enjoyed Adam’s turn, which I do think is a strong chance of an Oscar nom.

  3. I have so far yet to read a very negative review on this one. Almost all reviews I have read up till now are highly positive, and the few that are not, are still at list a little bit positive about it. Love this director’s movies, so will definitely check this one out 😀

  4. I cannot wait to see this film. I read an article by a linguist outlining what would have to happen in order for us to communicate with an alien race. We would have to establish common words. It was very fascinating. Great review! Sorry to go off topic but is Blade Runner being remade?

  5. At first I was excited that such a strange piece of science fiction got made but I was dissapointed by the acting. It was boring and predictable. The story went slow with a topic that could have been interesting.

  6. Absolutely dig the fuck out of Denis Villeneuve, have yet to see Incendies, I will one day, but I find him one of my favourite directors right now and the blade runner sequel or reboot is in capable hands, he seems to be one of the few directors that looks to have full creative control of his films. he knows how to shoot a fuckin scene and gets the most out of his scores too. the shot in this film when they arrive in the apache with the clouds rolling over the mountains was an absolute breathtaking moment. i loved everything about this film, especially the score. how good was it? especially when making the sounds seem alien…

  7. Hi! I love the reviews I’ve read on your blog so far and I was wondering if you could take some time to check out my film review blog. You seem to have a tasteful appreciation for film and you know what you’re doing on the blog front so please help me! Any feedback or tips to gain more attention to my blog would also be awesome. Thank you !

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  9. Really enjoyed the review. I liked the film but felt like the middle section takes away from an immensely strong beginning and solid final act. Its still a great film, I think I just had high, high expectations.

    • My expectations were really high as well mate, his such a talented director. I do understand your thoughts to the middle section, I still really dug the whole experience but agree the start and end are real highlights.

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