Throughout his film career, acclaimed Canadian director Denis Villeneuve (Incendies) has adapted to different genres and his latest feature, Arrival, is no exception. Arrival honours classic science fiction while also creating something truly original.
When 12 alien spacecraft land around the world, linguistics expert Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams, Big Eyes, Her, The Master) and theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner, The Immigrant, The Hurt Locker) are recruited by the US military to obtain the answer to one question: “What do they want?” Arriving in Montana, working under the leadership of Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland), Louise and Ian are only remotely aware that their lives and the future of humanity are about to become inextricably linked. As the unlikely pair collaborate to solve this extraterrestrial translation puzzle, 11 other teams around the world are attempting to do the same.
Certain to thrill mainstream moviegoers, cinephiles, sci-fi fans, and linguistics nerds alike, Arrival challenges the notion that technology improves our ability to communicate by focusing on the fundamentals. Villeneuve finds excitement in the details, crafting an atmosphere where dissecting the various components and interpretations of a sentence is as gripping as the first sight of aliens.
Aided by Bradford Young’s arresting cinematography, Jóhann Jóhannsson’s captivating score, and long-time collaborator Patrice Vermette’s minimalist production design, Villeneuve shows masterful control over tone as he creates palpable tension that quietly builds to the film’s powerful conclusion. At once beautiful and haunting, Arrival is an alien movie that is fundamentally human.
“Although Arrival is about first contact with extraterrestrials, it says more about the human experience than the creatures from another world. This is a singularly powerful movie, without question one of 2016’s best.” (James Berardinelli, Reel Views)
“Arrival is such a beautiful and thought-provoking film that it almost singlehandedly makes up for every bad aliens-coming-to-Earth film you’ve ever seen.” (Brian Truitt, USA Today)
“Adams gives her best performance as a lonely woman who has to make a decision that will haunt her—though perhaps in a good way—for the rest of her life.” (Lawrence Toppman, Charlotte Observer)