Wednesday, 7 December 2016


Year of Release:  2016
Director:  Denis Villeneuve
Screenplay  Eric Heisserer, based on the short story "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang
Starring:  Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Tzi Ma
Running Time:  116 minutes
Genre:  Science-fiction

Twelve giant objects appear floating above apparently random places around the globe.  Linguist Dr. Louise Brooks (Adams) and theoretical physicist Dr. Ian Donnelly (Renner) are called in to investigate an object hovering above Montana.  As they try and find a way to communicate with the alien creatures inside, the international situation quickly deteriorates into fear and panic, and it becomes a race against time to discover the alien's purpose before global war breaks out.

If your a fan of science-fiction, then you have likely seen about a million and one films about aliens arriving on Earth, or humans discovering aliens in outer space, and almost immediately being able to communicate with them.  This film shows how difficult communication would likely be.  If humanity was to encounter an alien race, their terms of reference, the way their minds would work, would be so different to ours, it would be extremely difficult to find any common ground.  This is not an action-packed alien invasion film, it is serious-minded science-fiction dealing with big issues such as the nature of time and memory, communication between species, human aggression and connection.  There are shades of films such as The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Close Encounters of the Third Kind  (1977) and Interstellar (2014) but this is very much it's own film.  There is at least one element at the end that felt a little pat, but this is a minor quibble, and this remains one of the best science-fiction films of recent years, mixing suspense, food for thought and emotion.  It benefits from some incredible performances with Amy Adams proving that she is one of the greatest actresses working today.

Amy Adams in Arrival

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