Arrival (2016) – A Review

“Why are they here?”

The Arrival stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forrest Whittaker, and is directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners and Sicaro). The screenplay was written by Heisserer and is based on the short story “Story of Your Life” written by Ted Chiang.

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Amy Adams is a top linguist who is recruited by the military along with Jeremy Renner, a scientist, to assist in first contact with an alien species to help communicate when twelve Alien Shells drop down to earth on a number of what seems like random locations.

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Don’t expect a popcorn alien invasion flick, it’s much smarter than that. The Arrival is more ‘Contact’ than ‘Independence Day’. It has a slow burn and is very meticulous. The movie stays focused so it’s never boring in it’s pacing, as it always held my interest. I loved seeing the break down in the alien symbols to figure out what they were saying. You really see how Adams and Renner’s logic works as they get closer and closer to cracking the code. The way they dissect the alien language to be able to communicate is very clever and quite ingenious, and something I have never seen before in any other movie.

The cinematography (Bradford Young) is beautifully shot and all looks very realistic, especially the aliens, I was glad they did not go with the typical humanoid looking alien. I like how they looked similar to an octopus and that was how they communicated with a black ink dye.

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The main cast was great, I got totally invested in them and they had me hooked.  But the supporting cast was pretty one-dimensional and cookie cutter, but not enough to break my focus too badly. The Arrival could get Amy Adams an Oscar nomination, and even win, she is just that good

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My only minor gripes are that the movie does end a little too abruptly, but a satisfying close.  It could have been a bit longer, 20 more minutes or so. Though anything left to be said can be done in a sequel.

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Overall it’s one of the best alien invasion movies I have ever seen, easily in my top 3 and it’s one of the best movies of the year. I can’t recommend this movie enough.

9.5/10

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