By LAYANN BASILEH
Arrival, a science fiction thriller directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Eric Heisserer, was released on November 11. The film features Amy Adams as protagonist Louise Banks, a renowned linguist. After the arrival of twelve extraterritorial spacecrafts in various locations around the world, she is asked by the U.S. Army to assist in deciphering the language of the aliens in order to communicate with the newcomers and find out what their intentions are. Alongside Banks is physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), who works with her to learn the complex language of the visitors.
As an avid hater of sci-fi horror movies, I was certain I’d derive absolutely no enjoyment from the film,but I was completely wrong. Instead of being the gruesome apocalyptic film I was expecting, Arrival proved to be a true work of art, interweaving stunning visuals, a chilling musical score and a complicated yet engaging story together to create a film that was easily one of the better ones of 2016. While we watch Banks’ efforts to learn the aliens’ language and teach them our own, we also see vivid flashbacks of Banks’ teenage daughter, Hannah, as the past and present meld together. Adams plays her character to perfection. I could see how the shock of seeing the first lifeforms outside of Earth affected her, as well as the constant stress Banks felt as she struggled to understand a language so unlike anything she’d ever seen. The plot itself was what really set Arrival apart from other alien thrillers, valuing emotion and theory over shock value and action.
The filming of Arrival was astounding. Nearly every scene was breathtaking, from images of Banks eating dinner in her spacious but lonely lakeside home to the anti-gravity entrance of the extraterrestrials’ spacecraft built out of a mysterious black rock to the dark and menacing aliens themselves. The musical score accompanying the visuals greatly added to atmosphere and emotion in each scene. There were many times when I was left on the edge of my seat, gripping the armrest from the ominousness and tension on the screen.
Overall, if you’re looking for a thought-provoking and well-crafted film, I highly recommend seeing Arrival. It’s by far one of the best science fiction films I’ve seen in a long time.
Arrival currently holds a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 8.3/10 on IMDb.