By Shelby Fielding (Lubbock, Texas, US)
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Arrival: An Original Sci-Fi Adventure That Captivates Any Audience

Arrival is directed by Denis Villeneuve who directed past films such as Prisoners, Sicario, Incendies, and my personal favorite Enemy. This film stars Amy Adams, Forest Whitaker, and Jeremy Renner. The film tells the story of the Arrival of extraterrestrial life arriving to earth which provokes all the world governments to reach out to the best scientists their respective countries have to offer as well as the world’s best linguistics who tries to speak with these extraterrestrial lifeforms to figure out why they’re here and what they want. This introduces us to our main character of Dr. Louise Banks played by Amy Adams. Who begins to try to figure out these aliens intentions using her very experienced linguistic skills and the help of Ian Donnelly played by Jeremy Renner. This film takes the audience on a jaw-dropping sci-fi journey filled with brilliant character development with a shocking twist that creates thematic, narrative, and philosophical questions about life. This narrative and filmmaking techniques creates one of the best sci-fi films of all time.

I found this film incredibly intriguing. This was such an original script that was carried by a brilliant performance from Amy Adams that is definitely Oscar worthy. She gets so in-depth with her character to the point where I as an audience member forgot about her past films and saw her only as Dr. Banks. That’s definitely what made this film so great and unique in my opinion. And, that was how this film sucks you into its narrative and truly makes it a theatre experience. There were multiple moments in the film where I forgot that I needed to critique this film because I was so lost in its narrative. Forest Whitaker does a great job in this film as well, along with Jeremy Renner who provides a different perspective in the narrative as he looks at these difficult situations from a scientific point of view compared to Amy Adam’s character who focuses in the linguistic approach.

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This film also takes a very realistic approach as in how the world would respond if this happened in real life. As after these aliens arrive the governments are trying to figure out if these aliens are hostile or not. Which provokes the everyday citizen to begin rioting and thinking the government is against or that this is a conspiracy government operation. The filmmaking is done exceptionally well. The cinematography is breathtaking and beautifully done. There is a specific shot where we get our first look at the alien spaceships, and we get this beautiful shot with the clouds almost flooding the scene. It is an incredible shot and my jaw-dropped when I saw it.

Denis Villeneuve does an awesome job of directing this film as he uses a lot of scenes that purely rely on dialogue to capture the audience. He also uses rapid editing to increase the dark tension of the film along with incredible sound design to further increase that tension that is felt throughout the entire film. The cinematography of the film also uses this dark lighting of scenes to give this dark tone of the film as if there is this strong sense of depression and fear building throughout the film that really pays off in the end. This film uses a slow method of building its tension that has an incredible pay off in act three that truly gives this narrative an incredible ending.

The film is does have flaws though. Centralizing around its slow build of tension. I loved it at times and at other times it felt too slow, so I feel there are sometimes where the director lost his sense of timing a bit. There’s also an incredible plot reveal in the third act that I won’t spoil. But, I feel like that reveal was quickly glanced over to where it felt a bit rushed instead of spending the time to explain the plot reveal and how it is affecting these characters.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and it was one of the best theatre experiences of the entire year thus far. This is definitely one of the top 5 films ever in the genre of sci-fi. I cannot wait to own this film on Blu-ray and I’m going to give Arrival an A. Is this one of the best sci-fi films? Are you excited to see Arrival? What do you think of Denis Villeneuve as a director this far in his career? Let me know in the comments down below and as always have a blessed day.

Rating: 5/5

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