POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD
Denis Villenueve is a director that excites me. The way he creates tension and brings the story to life is incredible. He is a director who is going from strength to strength with each film that he makes, and he is slowly becoming one of my favourite directors of all time. Let’s see if the streak continues with Arrival!
With the plot summary from IMDB, Arrival is about “When twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors.” The film stars Amy Adams (American Hustle, Nocturnal Animals), Jeremy Renner (Hurt Locker, The Avengers), Forest Whitaker (The Last King Of Scotland, Southpaw) and Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire, Men In Back 3) and it’s directed by Denis Villeneuve (Enemy, Prisoners).
I have to admit I’ve seen this film twice and on the first viewing I didn’t like it. I was expecting something very different especially after the likes of Sicario and Prisoners. However after giving it sometime I went to see it again and I was blown away by it. It’s such a beautiful film. The way the film’s narrative untangles through the direction and editing is amazing. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and it gives a new spin on an alien invasion film. By having this new spin, it makes it unique. However there is more to this film than just an alien invasion and communication. From what I took away from the film is, making the most of time and living your life. This is conveyed with the use of flash forward for Amy Adams’ character and knowing what her future holds. Even though she knows what is coming, she still lives her life and makes her time count with her daughter. It raises the question to the audience members, would you make the same decision as Amy Adam’s character and live your life the same if you knew the outcome?
I think the performances are great in the film. Amy Adams brings a certain gravitas to her character and the little traits that stood out for me. For example when she is getting dressed in her bio-suit her hands shake. Its little nuances like that, that make the character believe and express their emotion without it being shoved in the audience face. It’s a real shame that Adam’s wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. She really deserves one for this performance and it’s frustrating that she didn’t get recognised for it. I was also impressed with Jeremy Renner in the film. He seems to be a fairly hit and miss actor with more misses than hits, I think he does a great job in the film and is really believable as a scientist.
I think there a couple of flaws with the movie, it doesn’t hold your hand or baby’s the audience, which I don’t mind and I find it refreshing. It’s a film that really makes you think subconsciously and you really need to pay attention to what is going on, this may hinder the audience member’s enjoyment and understanding of the film. One other part that I didn’t like in the movie, is the reveal of what changed the Chinese general’s mind not to attack the aliens. It felt slightly comic and really forced, which doesn’t fit with the tone of the film. I think that is one thing I would have changed in the film.
Overall I’d rate this as Must See In The Cinema! It is one of those films that you’ll need to see on the big screen to appreciate the story, the cinematography and set design of the film. However at the time of writing this it has nearly ended its cinematic run. So make sure to catch it on VOD or DVD when it comes out.