Saturday, November 12, 2016


Plot: Linguistics Professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is recruited to translate after alien spaceships arrive. She and physicist Ian Jeremy Renner try to figure out why the aliens have come. They go on the spaceship and talk though a glass wall to the aliens. Meanwhile other countries are demanding answers and threatening military action. Intercut with the interrogation are scenes of Louise with her daughter growing up. [imdb]    [photos]

Review: Arrival is a well-crafted thriller with a big twist at the end -- twist with enough clues that a clever viewer could figure it out.

While it is a science fiction movie, the action is between the humans and the aliens stay on their ships. The plot spools out slowly, but there is enough emotional energy to keep us invested. There are three subplots, the puzzle of translating, the politics with the generals, and the relationship with the daughter.

The puzzle of translating with aliens is an interesting problem, and it is fun to see them wrestle with it. I would have tried flashcards.

Amy Adams' acting is great -- she always has a subtle expression on her face. Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker are also good. 
I may watch it again when it comes to TV to find all the clues foreshadowing the twist.

Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

Directed by:
Tom Ford

Based on the short story by: Ted Chiang; screenplay by Eric Heisserer who added the multiple landing sites and political dimension.

The Music:
It's an electronica/world music soundtrack with many some whale song too. I liked the track Kangaru enough to buy it. 

The Visuals:
There are several stylish visuals, but few Sci-Fi action scenes. I thought the aliens looked believable enough. I did not believe that anyone could write with octopus ink however.

3.0 stars: well acted; nice twist in the plot

More: I want to know if a dictionary of alien symbols is available -- it does not seem to be.

Even More: Arrival was made by a consortium of independent studios because it was such a non-traditional story.