Arrival (2016)7:02 AM
Why are they here?
This review contains Spoilers
Arrival is directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Prisoners) and stars Amy Adams (American Hustle, Enchanted) and Jeremy Renner (The Avengers, The Bourne Legacy). "A linguist is recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications". So Sicario topped my year end list of 2015, Prisoners is still one of my favourite thrillers...Arrival has a bar to meet - no pressure Villeneuve! Is this another win for the director?
Villeneuve has gone and done it again! Arrival is a brilliant film! The thing is though, it is once again completely different to what he has done before - I wouldn't say Arrival is full of edge-on-your-seat tension that he has done before but this is by far his most intelligent film yet. I would actually put this film on the same level as Nolan's Inception - it is that great and very mind-bending towards the end. There is nothing that this film gets wrong, it truly is a masterpiece. Villeneuve is probably the most consistent and possibly the best director working today - it's is win after win with him. I honestly can't wait to see what he does with the Blade Runner series as chances are, it'll be brilliant. Bravo Villeneuve, Bravo!
My favourite part of Arrival that I definitely appreciated the most whilst watching was the story. Everyone had kind of come to terms with the idea that sci-fi films can no longer be original but Arrival comes along and proves us all wrong. This has to be not only the most original sci-fi film I have seen in a while but one of the most original films in general. I was blown away by how the film actually created its own language and the best thing is, it actually all made sense and worked. The story also moved at quite a fast pace - yes that did mean that some potentially interesting moments were shrieked into a montage but I am still happy with the complete package. Arrival is also an incredibly intelligent and clever film - every piece of dialogue is thought out and everything just ties together really nicely. Even though there are a couple of corny lines, they can easily be forgiven by a script that is 99% perfect. I also thought Arrival's take on an alien invasion was actually quite realistic and it seemed like how it would happen if it was to - it wasn't like the Hollywood version where the whole world comes to an end in lets say, Independence Day 2 but it was a much calmer but still fearsome take on the concept.
The twist/revelation towards the end of the film is definitely what brought Arrival to a whole new level. At first, I was not on board at all as all of a sudden, Louise (Adams) seemed to have superpowers but I stuck with it and what a treat it was. Louise developed this new skill of seeing the future because she put a lot (I mean a lot) of time and effort into learning about this language and trying to figure it out. I actually thought this made sense. I think this has the hidden message of hard work pays off and you never know what you can do until you try - if Louise hadn't of committed as much to learning this language then she would have never unlocked this new skill - she can now literally see her whole life in front of her. Even though some things she sees aren't the nicest, other things are extremely helpful to the story and narrative. I thought it was really cool to see how she used her powers to convince China to cancel their attack on the aliens. This revelation also helped to make the otherwise confusing flashbacks make a lot of sense - they were actually visions of the future - Louise is going to have a daughter called Hannah and unfortunately Hannah is going to suffer from a rare, terminal illness. This means Louise now knows when Hannah eventually arrives, she should treasure every moment with her - she knows the destination but it is the journey that matters. I just think Arrival is a really incredible film with many layers - from the visions of the future to the title of the film - 'Arrival' on the surface seems like it just means the arrival of the aliens but it also means the arrival of Hannah - the character of Hannah is just as important in the development of the character of Louise as the aliens and how she learns the language. Arrival truly is a breath-taking and smart film.
The cinematography was also incredible - Bradford Young did a brilliant job. From the wide shots of the alien ship to the shots of Louise communicating with the species...it was all just brilliant. I also thought Young did quite a good job in creating a sense of claustrophobia - when the characters were walking through those tunnels, you really felt like you were in there with them and part of this big event. The visuals of the aliens from afar were also very good - the only time I wasn't too keen on them was in Louise's dream where she seems one in an everyday environment - it wasn't very believable or well realised. However, for a filmmaker who doesn't have much experience with CGI, this was a brilliant first attempt. The cinematography isn't as strong as the work in Sicario (which should have earned the film an Oscar in my opinion) but it was certainly still very good.
The acting is very strong - Amy Adams is brilliant! Adams leads the film very well - you really believe everything she does. Like Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange, I thought her performance was quite subtle and very very good - this isn't a big, flashy performance where she shouts and cries, but I thought she really became the character of Louise - this is her best performance since Enchanted. The character of Louise is also a very good character in general - not only is she a great female character but she is also quite realistic and down-to-earth. Louise thinks logically and really is a hard worker. Love and motherhood isn't a priority but when it comes, she welcomes it with open arms - and from the visions from the future, it looks like she is doing a great job. Louise and Adams are both equally terrific. Jeremy Renner also didn't stick out like a sore thumb - he doesn't really find himself in films like this often but Arrival should definitely open some more doors for him as he was also very good. Adams was definitely the star of the show but Renner was strong support.
Wow! What a film! Arrival is sure to be a contender this awards season as it is one of the best and well made films of the year. The cinematography is brilliant and Amy Adams is fantastic. However, what really stands out is the evidence that originality is still possibly in Hollywood - Arrival is smart, intelligent and very unique - I haven't seen a film like this in a long time. The revelation at the end of the film erases any potential flaws as it makes everything fit in and make sense. The revelation is also pretty cool and comes along with a powerful message. Denis Villeneuve scores once again and I can't wait to see what is up his sleeve next. I LOVED Arrival.
What did you think of ARRIVAL? What is your favourite Denis Villeneuve film? - COMMENT BELOW
Thank you to Odeon Screen Unseen for previewing this film!
See You Soon!