Director: Denis Villeneuve
By Sarah Stopforth
From the Director of Sicario (2015) and Prisoners (2013) and the Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film nominee Incendies (2010), Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve brings before the world the most emotionally charged human film about aliens you will ever see. It will leave you lost for words.
When twelve strange, floating space pods arrive in twelve different locations around the globe, it presents a frightening, yet fascinating ‘doomsday’ scenario for humanity. We see university students being evacuated from campus buildings and on their phones, watching media coverage of these ominous, looming objects floating in their own atmosphere. We are introduced to Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams), a lecturer/expert in linguistics, as she and her students watch television coverage in fear. Dr. Banks is asked to join an investigative team, along with physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), for the U.S. Government to communicate with the creatures inside and to determine the most important question: what is their purpose on Earth?
Arrival is a revelry experience to all the senses. Even without leaving Earth, the cinematography was reminiscent of a 2001: A Space Oddysey level of intensity, including the eery score by Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson.
Villeneuve has without a doubt re-defined the science-fiction genre with the world he has created in Arrival. The story does not rely on any sort of the action like we often see in sci-fi films; it’s all in the screenplay, by Eric Heisserer. Not only does it enter a hypothetical world of how people could realistically react to such an arrival of unidentified flying objects, but more importantly an exploration into the human condition, how memories, visuals and emotions are linked, how language can totally change one’s entire perception of time, and the extraordinary human abilities that cannot be logically explained, just like the beings who came to visit.