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  • Young Critic


Aliens are really hard to render onscreen because they carry such high expectations from the audience. Canadian director Dennis Villeneuve decided to tackle this hard subject with his latest film: Arrival.

Arrival centers on Louise (Amy Adams) a respected linguistics professor at an American university. During our opening scenes, Louise goes to her class and finds it nearly empty, one of her students asks her to turn on the news, and we find out that strange extraterrestrial boulders have appeared floating in 12 spots around the globe. Louise is paid a visit by an army Colonel (Forrest Whitaker) who recruits her to try and investigate the alien object and try and communicate with possible passengers. She works along with scientist Ian (Jeremy Renner) to try and make peaceful interactions with this new happening.

Dennis Villeneuve has always been one to tackle incredibly deep and emotionally conflicting subjects. In Arrival it’s very much breaking down the essentials of human communication and interaction. He also takes advantage to deliver his common dark twists that have been prevalent in his other films. This particular plot twist is completely unexpected and its themes reminded me a lot of Interstellar. As for the aliens themselves and how Villeneuve deals with them, I found it extremely satisfying and definitely thought provoking.

But if I was going to have one quip in the film, it’s in the point of first contact with the aliens and how suddenly Louise knowing their basic language make-up through geometrical measurements. I just didn’t buy that, and I felt it was a quick edit that Villeneuve wanted to skip past in order to get to more interesting content. Something a bit lazy, but that nevertheless you could agree was able to keep a respectable pace in the film.

Amy Adams is incredible in this film. She gives a subtle emotional performance, making indications of her thoughts or feelings with the simple flicker of an eyebrow or sigh. The supporting cast is also strong, particularly a Jeremy Renner that spills some of his witty humor, and a dominant Forest Whitaker.

Villeneuve has certainly done it again living up to his own expectations as a director as well as that of his sci-fi subject. I purposefully try and keep the plot vague enough in the review so as to not spoil some of its great narrative skill. Arrival is definitely worth your time, and its vibrations will carry on with you long after you’ve left the theater.



About Young Critic

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I've been writing on different version of this website since February of 2013. I originally founded the website in a film-buff phase in high school, but it has since continued through college and into my adult life. Young Critic may be getting older, but the love and passion for film is forever young. 

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