Arrival arrived in cinemas three weeks ago to general acclaim, and its easy to see why. A sci-fi thriller about first contact with alien-kind that doesn’t revolve around escaping the apoclyplse, but an apt tale for our times about trying to understand the world beyond our (forgive me) HyperNormalised reality. Its tkane me ags to write something about it as I wanted to find words that wouldn’t just be another random set of praises. It deserves more than that.
Dr Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is a professor of linguistics, and we know that she’s lost her daughter in her life. When 12 unusually and seemingly randomly placed unidentifyable flying craft show up and the world enters panic, she’s asked to join the military in Montana, and analyse the Aliens, and help form a method of translating and communicating with them, as quickly as possible, before war starts. She’s joined by Jeremy Renner as theoretical physiscist Ian Donnelly, who largely shares her ideals and patience in reinvigorating diplomacy, and Forest Whitaker as a Colony Weber, who is constantly pressured by the US authorities to speed the process up, seeking shortcuts, and fearing military action as an invetiabiltiy.
What follows is a thriller of world tensions and poor global communications about what to do about these arriving aliens. That’s it. Its Dr Banks’ strategy to translate and communicate in a race against time, and an enticing mystery unfolds.
What is utterly wonderful about the timing of Arrival’s… arrival in cinemas is that it feeds and offers a message and vision of the human race as hopeful. Flawed, conflicted, and self-destructive, yet constructive, listeners, and considerate. It has been said that the most academically analysed film of all time is Alien, and with academics finding ways of calling it Feminist, Socialist, Capitalist, Anti-Religion, Pro-Religion, and every possible reading under the sun. I think Arrival could be one of those films that we look back on and try to work out just why its so clever and interesting in years to come. Is it pro military? Anti-military? Pro big government? Pro individualist? Anti-establishment? Pro-establishment?
Maybe that’s why I went three times. Each time, I found something different. However, every time, you will find an oscar-worthy performance from Amy Adams and a tight two hours of beautiful science-fiction.