Taking place after alien crafts land around the world, an expert linguist is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat.
Exactly the movie you think it is, but not the movie you want it to be.
The movie really just wants to entertain people.
The movie is surprisingly subdued in its pacing, its characterizations, and its go-for-broke sensibilities.
The film never slows down or bores, plunging from one harrowing sequence to the next.
So, I saw this moive late at night with some wine at hand, it held my gaze and kept me wondering about what happens next. It's uniqe, chill, stilish and at times even gripping. Now, if you want to geek out and have a "true to life" sci-fi, then you won't like this flick. But if you want to immerse yourself for a couple of hours with the idea of taking to aliens, be my guest.
I'm a writer by trade and understand what makes a good story. I also understand what makes for am pretentious story, and "Arrival" offers exactly that. I could handle the sentimentality, and the faux profundity, but not the lack of sensibility in the story line. It simply doesn't make sense. I suppose lots of viewers choose to think that the movie went "over their heads". Not so. I just doesn't hold together, that's all. Wasted two hours of my time, as it turned out.
But rather, a meditation on communication - how language divides as well as unites us, and how it can shape our perception of time and reality. The film also leaves us with a question for ourselves, would we choose to forego the joy of an experience if we knew for certain ahead of time that it would end in great pain. Early in the film, a linguist played by Amy Adams, writes on a white board the sentence, "What is your purpose for coming here?" And then proceeds to explain why even such a simple question can't be can't be posed to newly arrived heptapod aliens, who's verbal language sounds a bit like whale song.Unlike any other film I can remember that deals with humans first encountering intelligent extraterrestrials, it presents what would likely be the most realistic scenario for such an event - that is, being aliens to each other the gap between us that we'd need to bridge to establish any communication would be enormous. First, we would need to teach each other how to "speak".Throughout the film, Adams' character experiences what we at first believe are flashbacks about a daughter she lost at a young age to a genetic disease. However, we eventually learn they are flash forwards, since as she begins to learn the alien language (which is based on a non-linear concept of time) she begins to think as they do, becoming a cognitive time traveler who can see the future and the past. The child we at first think she remembers losing, she will choose to have in the future.The film unfolds like a dream and its visuals have a dreamlike quality with very little nuts and bolts technology to be seen. These aliens seem almost beyond technology, except they they're housed in vessels (are they really space ships?) that provide a livable environment for them on Earth. When they leave, their vessels simply dissolve into mist.
This movie was great. At first I thought it would be a cheap mix of the "The Day The Earth Stood Still" and "Sphere". This movie was so much more. I went into this movie with low expectations which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. In all, this movie had a plot twist that was more beautiful than plot ruining.I know a movie is great when I am driving to work the next day (1 hr commute) and I can't stop thinking about it.This movie is free on Hulu, if you have not seen it yet, please do so