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article imageReview: Arrival delivers a sci-fi treat to the cinema Special

By Tim Sandle     Nov 11, 2016 in Entertainment
Arrival, a new movie featuring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker, delivers thought-provoking science fiction to the big screen and leaves the audience to question the nature of time and reality.
Providing an antidote to a shoot-em-up movie like Independence Day 2, Denis Villeneuve's new movie Arrival (@arrivalmovie) offers a different take on the age-old question of what would happen should aliens visit Earth, including playing out how different nations might interact and react to each other.
The movie is based on a short story written by Eric Heisserer ("Story of Your Life"), which won the 2000 Nebula Award for Best Novella. Eric Heisserer adapted his tale for the movie version.
The film stars Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, playing a linguist and a physicist respectively. The specialties of the characters are utilized when aliens land all over Earth, occupying twelve key locales (and one, inevitably, being in the U.S.) Key to understanding why the aliens (dubbed Heptapods) are here is with the interpretation of their language and symbols. This is complicated by the aliens’ having two languages. In the movie, one form of communication is expressed by the verbal Heptapod A, with its free word order; whereas the other is far more complex and visual, from the other alien — Heptapod B.
While attempts at communication continue, humanity teeters on the verge of global war as different groups scrambles for answers. What is as interesting as the attempts to communicate with the aliens is the wave of distrust between different nations and, as played out in the context of the U.S., between civilians and military and then within the military itself.
As the answers are revealed the movie does not shy away from addressing existential concepts on the nature and purpose of reality and the dimension of time, examined through the lens of theoretical physics: the nature of time is not necessarily played out in a linear fashion.
The acting by the main cast is good — understated when it needs to be and dramatic when it counts. The atmosphere is shaped by Jóhann Jóhannsson's score, effectively using using ethereal vocals and experimental piano loops.
The movie is subtle and it has charm, and it is closer, in terms of theme and mood, to movies like Contact or Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It is well-worth catching and scores a 4 out of 5 movie rating.
More about arrivals, Arrival, Aliens, Amy adams, Movies
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