Every once in a while a movie like this comes along. It doesn’t seem like much on the surface, but beneath that surface lies a really really great film. Held up by some quality performances, ‘Arrival‘ is an awesome modern sci-fi movie and character study.
The films focuses on Amy Adams’s Louise as she is called in to investigate the sudden appearance of twelve alien spaceships that have appeared all across the planet. Louise is a language expert and is tasked deciphering the strange alien language before other countries take drastic measures or the aliens themselves even prove to be hostile. It doesn’t sound like the most interesting film ever made, but trust me, the drama and the mystery really help to keep the plot moving and actually make this one hell on an interesting movie! Director Dennis Villeneuve really knows how to focus in on the characters and give them all a lot of quiet moments, despite a plot that could threaten to take over.
The performances alone are great. Amy Adams is a phenomenal actress as it is, but she seems to get better and better with every role. This film is no exception. Adams is real, raw and emotional. She’s perfect. Her dedication to the task at hand and her commitment to discovering the secret to the alien language is so strong, and her performance matches that. Backing her up as a smart physicist guy called Ian is Jeremy Renner, who generally I quite like. And her is also no exception as he’s pretty damn good as the only person who will stick up for Louise’s methods and practices. Watching the two of them come up with theories is so natural it’s like they’ve been at it for years.
This is a science fiction movie not built around the special effects at all. It’s about characters. That being said, when there are special effects on screen they look pretty great. The aliens and their way of communicating is pretty fascinating itself and looks fairly convincing. But really this is Louise’s story. From her struggle to decipher the alien language and get her superiors to give her what she needs to her memories of her daughter. There’s a lot to be told and it all gets revealed at a very nice pace that keeps the story interesting right up until the final scene.
Dennis Villeneuve is a really great director and ‘Arrival‘ fully deserves the Academy Awards nominations it got. In a way it’s just a shame it didn’t win the big one. It doesn’t need to though. It’s a great film regardless. A great character story within an intriguing plot. This is a real must see movie.
JACK’S SCORE: 5/5