Arrival Review – Villeneuve’s Wunderkind
With Arrival, Villeneuve brings us a one of the best first-encounter movies the film-industry has ever seen.
Based on the short-story by author Ted Chiang, Arrival brings us a first-encounter picture with brains. Overall the concept is very simple and not unlike other movies of this genre: Ufo’s appear on different places all over the world and humankind tries to communicate, to find out why they are here and even more: What this alien civilisation can do for mankind.
In the US, the army is sent to guard and communicate the hovering ship while linguistics professor Louise Banks, played by Amy Adams and Physicist Ian Donnelly played by Jeremy Renner are called in to solve the mysteries of these space ships. Through learning their language and translating the Alien’s writing, Louise and Ian try to find out what it is that brought these aliens to our planet.
The main theme of the movie is communication. Humankind does not only have to learn how to communicate with these visitors but also with each other. While the American approach is a calm one, not all countries – like China and Pakistan, are willing to treat the visitors in the same manner. What follows is a series of events where humankind makes more progress in communicating with the aliens than it does communicating with each other: where at first countries were working together and sharing their finding and research, this stream of information dries out when the stakes are raised and the secrets the aliens might share are more important to mankind and the universe than first thought.
This movie keeps you on the tip of your seat. It is a very smart film with heavily developed characters and twists that have you rethink not only the events of the movie but also of your own time and space. I absolutely loved both Adams and Donnelly, and the way they portrayed their characters was absolutely superb. There was this “je-ne-sais-quoi” between them – sometimes their looks could say more than words, and I honestly think that this is one of the things that made this movie so incredibly strong.
Other things I am absolutely in awe of are the cinematography, the special effects and the design of these effects. I loved the design of the ship and the design of the aliens. But I think what I loved absolutely most was the Alien writing. You will know what I mean when you see the movie – but it is absolutely awesome. There is no other word to describe it.