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Review: Arrival

Arrival
11.10.2016
10 10

PLOT: After a series of alien ships land in twelve different locations on Earth, a linguist is recruited to discover the secrets of their language and why they have come.

REVIEW: The idea of the human race not being alone in the universe is one that has given filmmakers extraordinary worlds to explore. Yet sometimes, something truly gratifying and special transcends the average science fiction story. That is the case for the astonishing new feature ARRIVAL. The film, starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, is a fascinating look at how we may react to alien visitors. Written by Eric Heisserer and directed by Denis Villeneuve, there is a wonderful sense of humanity here. And while the film may at times feel perhaps too cerebral for some, it does so in a way that only brings the audience in deeper. There are many layers to this story of a linguist recruited to translate an alien life forms unusual language, so much so that I won’t reveal too much here.

Amy Adams is Dr. Louise Banks, a linguistics professor who is in mourning after losing her daughter to a rare illness. Everything changes for her however after reports that there are twelve unidentified objects landing in random places around the world. When a secretive Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) recruits Banks to attempt to translate the strange creature’s language, she becomes obsessed with the visitors. She is joined by a theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Renner), both brought on to find the key to why they have come. Once Banks and Donnelly arrive at one of the destinations, the team attempts to communicate with the strange creatures with absolutely zero knowledge of how they interact. As the world gives in to fear and panic, Louise and Ian attempt to discover the secrets behind the celestial visitors.

ARRIVAL is a unique science fiction experience. While comparisons can be made to CONTACT as well as the work of author Carl Sagan, it feels fresh and quite fitting for our time. The giant shell like ships that hover in several parts of the world are simple in design, but absolutely compelling to see on the big screen. When Banks, Donnelly and crew step inside the mysterious ship for the first time it is an astonishing visual, but not in ways you’d expect. The way they explain how gravity works inside the ship is so utterly simple that it feels absolutely realistic. And while the aliens and what is inside the craft is something more otherworldly, it is still handled in a very pragmatic way. This less-is-more approach makes for a intensely entertaining watch.

Much of Villeneuve’s work has been dark and cynical. From SICARIO to PRISONERS, there has been more than a hint of despair and horror. However, with ARRIVAL, he manages to infuse a more optimistic tone to his visual style and storytelling. That said, it is still a suspenseful and moving feature that carefully reveals the secrets behind the extra-terrestrial visitors. Jóhann Jóhannsson - who has worked with Villeneuve often - also returns to add a hauntingly effective score that helps build the strange phenomena that is occurring. The two work especially well together to create a movie going experience that you can fully immerse yourself in. 

Amy Adams is finishing out 2016 with two solid performances. With this and NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, the actress is proving to be a dramatic force to be reckoned with. Here, she creates a woman who has suffered loss, and now embarks on a desperate quest to understand something completely foreign. It is beautiful and nuanced and deeply affecting. This strange world opens up to her and we see it through her eyes with wonder and uncertainty. Both Renner and Whitaker are also terrific. While neither of their characters have the personal conflict that Adams has, they add impressive support to their leading lady. But this is as much Adams film as it is further proof that Villeneuve is one of the most exciting directors working today.

ARRIVAL has stayed with me well after my first viewing, which most certainly won’t be my last. The questions it raises and the examination of who we are and how we react to possible conflict is very powerful. It also takes on a surprisingly emotional story that resonated with this viewer. Villeneuve has crafted a great science fiction feature that never insults the viewers intelligence, in fact, it challenges you in the best of ways. Amy Adams is superb and the script by Eric Heisserer is equally as brilliant. If you are looking for something that is both cerebral and awe-inspiring, you should do yourself a favor and see ARRIVAL before its secrets are revealed. This is likely to become a modern day sci-fi classic.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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8:56AM on 11/26/2016
Much of what you praise in this film, including its emphasis on emotional truths rather than bombastic CGI, is surely at least partially due to the writer -- who isn't even mentioned in your review. I know the auteurists would have you believe that everything is a result of the director 's hard work, but surely the writing deserves at least some credit, especially when you focus so much on the movie 's themes.
Much of what you praise in this film, including its emphasis on emotional truths rather than bombastic CGI, is surely at least partially due to the writer -- who isn't even mentioned in your review. I know the auteurists would have you believe that everything is a result of the director 's hard work, but surely the writing deserves at least some credit, especially when you focus so much on the movie 's themes.
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11:39AM on 11/13/2016
Beautiful, moving, innovative and smart movie, one of the years' best. A complex story about alien linguistics is likely not for everyone (i.e., the folks who say "it's too slow") but for me it was terrific.
Beautiful, moving, innovative and smart movie, one of the years' best. A complex story about alien linguistics is likely not for everyone (i.e., the folks who say "it's too slow") but for me it was terrific.
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3:34PM on 11/12/2016
Just got back from seeing this, and I find all the praise well deserved. It's an intelligent, moving sci-fi pic that gives I think subtext to our current state of affairs within the United States and globally. I highly recommend it.
Just got back from seeing this, and I find all the praise well deserved. It's an intelligent, moving sci-fi pic that gives I think subtext to our current state of affairs within the United States and globally. I highly recommend it.
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1:21PM on 11/12/2016

Very moving and thought provoking

Your review says it all. This is a new classic.
Your review says it all. This is a new classic.
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+2
10:08AM on 11/12/2016

10/10?

Saw it last night. To be honest, I'm not sure I've comprehended all of the undertones this movie has to consider if it's good yet. I appreciated the story, but I couldn't help but feel that I was tricked into what type of movie I was lead to believe I'd be seeing. Even classifying this a sci-fi movie is a stretch. That may be base, but it certainly is not the plot.I think a perfect rating is a bit much, no?

I'd like to read some in depth reviews of this to find out what I missed. If I
Saw it last night. To be honest, I'm not sure I've comprehended all of the undertones this movie has to consider if it's good yet. I appreciated the story, but I couldn't help but feel that I was tricked into what type of movie I was lead to believe I'd be seeing. Even classifying this a sci-fi movie is a stretch. That may be base, but it certainly is not the plot.I think a perfect rating is a bit much, no?

I'd like to read some in depth reviews of this to find out what I missed. If I had to sum up what this movie's message is, is that it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. I know there's more to this, though. Still, can't help feeling it wasn't the movie I was lead to believe it was. .
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12:56PM on 11/12/2016
Yes for a movie that is about communication, it sure did a terrible job with that itself.. I thought the movie was ok, but the people I went with were confused, especially with the then 100% Rotten Tomato score. The RT score has gone down a little, but still a little over the top with the praise it's gotten.
Yes for a movie that is about communication, it sure did a terrible job with that itself.. I thought the movie was ok, but the people I went with were confused, especially with the then 100% Rotten Tomato score. The RT score has gone down a little, but still a little over the top with the praise it's gotten.
+3
9:44AM on 11/12/2016
I love the director and loved the music and acting, but for me the story is just barely hanging by a thread.
Its a slow barely there story that after so much exposition they quickly out of nowhere resolve the language barrier. What? When? How? Then it uses a trick to resolve everything and be done.
It does not feel organic but manipulative in a way that a movie that takes itself so seriously shouldn't.
So it wasn't a bad movie, just slow and pretentious for such a light and overly done
I love the director and loved the music and acting, but for me the story is just barely hanging by a thread.
Its a slow barely there story that after so much exposition they quickly out of nowhere resolve the language barrier. What? When? How? Then it uses a trick to resolve everything and be done.
It does not feel organic but manipulative in a way that a movie that takes itself so seriously shouldn't.
So it wasn't a bad movie, just slow and pretentious for such a light and overly done subject.
Let's remember, movie reviewers live and breathe in an echo chamber where the love regurgitating each other.
Don't get me wrong it's a nice film, but see Close Encounters of the third Kind instead.
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11:25PM on 11/11/2016

Waste of time/money

Dang it. I should have checked who the reviewer was before I watched this! Jimmy-O also gave "Ink" a 10 and that had some of the worst acting I've ever seen as well as the story. I saw Arrival and was thinking that there would be some shocking ending at the end but the ending came and went. Amy Adams did great, but it certainly was a slow movie and one that I would never, ever want to watch again. 5 out of 10 at best.
Dang it. I should have checked who the reviewer was before I watched this! Jimmy-O also gave "Ink" a 10 and that had some of the worst acting I've ever seen as well as the story. I saw Arrival and was thinking that there would be some shocking ending at the end but the ending came and went. Amy Adams did great, but it certainly was a slow movie and one that I would never, ever want to watch again. 5 out of 10 at best.
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10:39AM on 11/11/2016
Wow, is it that good? I need to give this a shot.
Wow, is it that good? I need to give this a shot.
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6:28AM on 11/11/2016
Just saw it. Holy shit! It has to at least be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. Brilliant film Denis Villeneuve is a master at his craft.
Don't read anymore about the film. The less you know the better.
Just saw it. Holy shit! It has to at least be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. Brilliant film Denis Villeneuve is a master at his craft.
Don't read anymore about the film. The less you know the better.
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1:39AM on 11/11/2016
I just saw the movie and I give it a ZERO. It was boring and so very stupid. It was terrible.
I just saw the movie and I give it a ZERO. It was boring and so very stupid. It was terrible.
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11:26PM on 11/11/2016
While I didn't give it a zero it was pretty darn bad.
While I didn't give it a zero it was pretty darn bad.
+0
9:38PM on 11/10/2016

Love this review

Tomorrow for me and I can't wait.
Tomorrow for me and I can't wait.
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3:30PM on 11/10/2016
I'm so happy to hear people are enjoying this. I really wanted this to be good but I felt like they put the worst of the screenplay in the trailer. I'm relieved it's not just 2 hours of dialogue like "yeah, that just happened..."
I'm so happy to hear people are enjoying this. I really wanted this to be good but I felt like they put the worst of the screenplay in the trailer. I'm relieved it's not just 2 hours of dialogue like "yeah, that just happened..."
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2:58PM on 11/10/2016
With this and Hacksaw Ridge both getting 10s, this fall/winter movie season is heating up fast!
With this and Hacksaw Ridge both getting 10s, this fall/winter movie season is heating up fast!
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+2
2:52PM on 11/10/2016
Villeneuve first got my attention with Prisoners, and I've seen everything he's done since. Best director out there today. Can't wait to see arrival
Villeneuve first got my attention with Prisoners, and I've seen everything he's done since. Best director out there today. Can't wait to see arrival
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1:02PM on 11/12/2016
Same here. Loved prisoners. This one is good too, but a little over hyped. Dont go in with too high expectations or you'll be let down. Its really a small scale film. More like an intimate play with a lot of exposition. If you go see it in a chill mode, then you won't be disappointed. If you go in with high expectations about it being a big sci-fi big budget film, you'll surely be disappointed.
Same here. Loved prisoners. This one is good too, but a little over hyped. Dont go in with too high expectations or you'll be let down. Its really a small scale film. More like an intimate play with a lot of exposition. If you go see it in a chill mode, then you won't be disappointed. If you go in with high expectations about it being a big sci-fi big budget film, you'll surely be disappointed.
2:22PM on 11/10/2016
Quite the spoiler free review there. Can't wait to check this one out
Quite the spoiler free review there. Can't wait to check this one out
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2:47PM on 11/10/2016
Yeah, I really feel this is a movie you should know as little about going in as possible. Hope you dig it!
Yeah, I really feel this is a movie you should know as little about going in as possible. Hope you dig it!
1:17PM on 11/10/2016
This film looks brilliant and beautifully haunting at the same time. Love the fact that it's more of an intelligent alien invasion movie and questions deeply what we do as a civilization if this were to occur. And the fact that they are making the lead a linguistics is cool too. But the whole film looks spectacular with some solid direction again from Villeneuve and performances fro Adams, and Renner. The best part seems to be that we know nothing really about the film and surprises from the
This film looks brilliant and beautifully haunting at the same time. Love the fact that it's more of an intelligent alien invasion movie and questions deeply what we do as a civilization if this were to occur. And the fact that they are making the lead a linguistics is cool too. But the whole film looks spectacular with some solid direction again from Villeneuve and performances fro Adams, and Renner. The best part seems to be that we know nothing really about the film and surprises from the trailers.
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