The arrival in the title refers to twelve rather large space ships that suddenly appear at seemingly random locations across our planet. People are panicking because… you know, aliens. But for once these aliens aren’t blowing up the White House, seeming content to just hover around. So who are they? And what are they doing here? And can they please use an anal probe on Trump?
Those are the questions everybody wants to know the answer and in order to get them, the military counts on linguistics expert Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and a scientist called Ian (Jeremy Renner) to figure it all out. Which isn’t the easiest of tasks, seeing as the aliens use a language that has zero similarities with any language known to mankind. Will she have enough time to figure out what our interplanetary visitors want before the world’s uneasiness gets the upperhand?
Just like with other recent sci-fi movies (Gravity, Interstellar, The Martian), Arrival is more interested in making us think about certain things rather than just have aliens blow shit up. How do we approach something that scares us? Why communicate through language instead of action? What does covfefe mean? All this might sound a bit heavy, but director Denis Villeneuve manages to keep things interesting. And it doesn’t hurt that everything looks downright beautiful thanks to cinematographer Bradford Young. Granted, the movie sags a little in the middle and would have been even better if they had picked up the pace just a little there. But the final act does make up for it so all is forgiven.
When the news came out that director Denis Villeneuve signed on for the long-awaited sequel to the sci-fi classic Blade Runner, people got worried. Sure, he’s made a couple of gritty thrillers that were well worth our time. But he had no experience in the sci-fi genre. Arrival should go a long way of setting people’s minds at ease.