Arrival Review

Arrival is director Denis Villeneuve’s latest film and his first step into the genre of Sci-Fi. Following the sudden arrival of several unknown objects to land in major countries around the world, linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is recruited by the military to assist them in interpreting alien communications. Alongside her, Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) also helps to uncover the reasons as to why the aliens have landed on earth. Wasting no time in getting you straight into the action, Arrival quickly, but efficiently covers important ground from the start and throws you straight into the story.

Top quality directors come every now and then. Tarantino, Scorsese, Spielberg, you could go on. Modern directors are too easily classed as masters at the directing game. The one exception to that is Canadian director Denis Villeneuve. Reasons being is that he has conquered several genres in the past couple of years and has created visual and creative masterpieces. Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario and now Arrival all come under different genres. Versatility is the first word to describe the director, and his unique style and interpretation come to life at its best in his latest movie. Subtle direction with the camera makes light work to draw you in immediately to the story and the characters. The use of slow panning create a personal feel that almost feels like you are meeting the extraterrestrials for the first time like the two main characters do. The use of that shot instantly makes the film feel grounded and relatable.

2016 has been a tough year for film and I almost wrote it off as a disappointing year. Then we had this absolute gem of a movie arrive. Not only did the aliens arrive, but my favourite film of this year has also arrived. Arrival possesses the perfect balance of what a great blockbuster movie has and what a great independent film has. The intensity, visuals, storyline, directing, acting, score, I could go on. Every single thing about this film is incredible. I would even go as far as saying that is one of the best Sci-Fi films that I have seen in a long time. Arrival almost feels raw and incredibly realistic, that’s why it almost feels like an independent movie. I feel you can normally relate to an indie film because it feels more real. Even though CGI was a huge factor in Arrival, it almost feels real, and I accepted that from the start. That realness made me feel like I was watching actual footage of a meeting with aliens. It gripped me quickly and I simply couldn’t take my eyes off it.

Jóhann Jóhannsson’s score is spellbinding and stunning. There almost isn’t music to his score; it’s pretty much sound effects and murmurs of unknown sound snippets that add to the mystery of the film. Additionally, the soundtrack complements the film superbly. Without the score, the film wouldn’t be as great as it is, so credit has to be given to composer Johann Johannsson. Alongside the soundtrack, Amy Adams gives a stunning performance as Louise Banks. Struck by a family tragedy, her character is almost in a hole, nearly at the point of no return. Adams plays this character incredibly well and gives a meaningful and real performance. Arrival is by far and away my favourite film of 2016 so far. With very little of the year left to go, I can’t imagine there will be much to dethrone this film from my top spot. Stunning, Incredible, breath-taking are all understatement. Arrival is the film to watch right now. 5 out of 5 stars.

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