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Much like the review I wrote earlier in the week for Hacksaw Ridge, when thinking of how to describe this week's new release Arrival, several other movies come to mind. There are definite shades of Interstellar here, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and even a teeny bit of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. With so many comparisons you would expect this film to be like an Oblivion, a repackaging of everyone else's ideas with nothing new to say, but you'd be very wrong. Arrival is one of the most original films of the year and will stand on its own for its contribution to the genre.
The less known about the film the better, so I will keep my synopsis short. Arrival is the story of a linguist named Dr. Louise Banks (played wonderfully as always by Amy Adams) and the titular arrival of 12 alien ships across the globe that changes her, along with the rest of the worlds' lives forever. When aliens land on earth, Louise is recruited by the United States Government to find a way to communicate with the new visitors, as well as attempting to translate their alien language. It seems like an incredibly impossible task that the film almost spends the entire time figuring out to solve. This may bore many viewers, but to those who have the patience it is a fascinating experience.
Arrival is a simple and realistic portrayal of how governments all around the globe might react to being confronted with extra-terrestrial life. For an idea so fantastical, Arrival plays it straight and is extremely rooted in reality...even though it has its fantastical 2001: A Space Odyssey type moments and....the Interstellar similarities that I alluded to earlier that I won't even get into at all here because I don't want to spoil anything. Basically what I'm saying is, for an alien movie there is not very much action at all. That's not the point here. The point in this film is studying a new intelligent species and learning all they can from them.
It's really hard to get too much further in the details, but all I can say is Arrival is brilliantly done. Everything in this film is perfection from the subtle direction, Amy Adams fantastic performance, the poignant editing and the beautifully crisp cinematography. This if a film that pops on the screen and it is absolutely one of the best of the year. See it. As far as flaws go, it might not be the most accessible film for everyone. Some people might get bored, but to me it was captivating all throughout and an incredibly rewarding film experience. RATING: 9.5