This post is spoiler free.
Arrival is a 2016 drama, mystery, and science-fiction movie based on the short story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang. After 12 mysterious spacecrafts come to Earth linguist, Dr Louise Banks (played by Amy Adams), is recruited by the military to try and communicate with the aliens onboard one of the spacecrafts.
The movie is directed by Denis Villeneuve, and produced by Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Aaron Ryder, and David Linde. The screenplay is written by Eric Heisserer, and the movie stars: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Tzi Ma, among others.
Having got out of the cinema a few hours ago I can still safely say that I’m very glad I saw this movie! From the moment I saw the first trailer I was intrigued, and that intrigue was still there when I was sat in my seat watching it. Arrival is more about the story than the action. In fact there’s only a teeny bit of action, but for the most part there isn’t any because it never relies on it, and it honestly doesn’t need to.
There was never a point where I felt bored or like I wanted to leave, that’s because Arrival does such a good job at telling its story and keeping the mystery alive. It does just enough to make you wonder about it, but not enough so that you’ll be disappointed with the outcome. What also helps it to move along nicely and keep audiences captivated is the music (by Jóhann Jóhannsson) and the cinematography (by Bradford Young). I favoured the cinematography more, but I definitely appreciate both. At times they work together and when you put all the different elements of this movie together you get such an original atmosphere.
It never felt like any particular element was favoured more. The music was just as important as the cinematography, the cinematography was just as important as the acting, the acting was just as important as the writing, etc, etc. Speaking of the acting, everyone did an amazing job. They all helped to draw you further into this story, into this world. I really felt like I cared (even about the aliens!).
If you’ve been considering checking this movie out I urge you to! It’s beautiful and amazing and completely worth the watch. It has that short film vibe to it, but it never feels drawn out or overdone considering it’s actually nearly 2 hours long. Instead it feels like they took advantage of bringing this story to life by showing you everything they could and offering up as much as possible.
I, at the very least, recommend giving it a shot. You might even be surprised by how much you actually enjoy it.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½