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When I first saw the trailers for Arrival I thought it was interesting and that it was my type of movie, in the way that most sci-fi extraterrestrial movies are, but it didn’t necessarily blow me away. It looked kind of generic and I put in that “I’ll see it when I see it category.” So when it started getting all it’s critical buzz and eventual nomination for Best Picture I was genuinely surprised and had to see what all the fuss was about.

The basic plot for the movie is fairly simple and typical of movies in this genre; alien ships appear out of nowhere at numerous locations around the world and everybody is frantically trying to figure out whether they came here in peace or came looking for war. However, they do add their own touch to the proceedings by focusing on the process of actually trying to understand their language and asking them that very question.

For such a massive global event, the movie manages to feel extremely intimate and grounded and it’s probably the best approximation of how things would play out if we ever did get visited by alien life.

While the overall plot isn’t anything entirely new for the genre, they do break away from the norm and produce one of the more cerebral sci-fi movies I’ve ever seen. It’s a slow going affair without much in the way of action or high-energy, but that’s not to say that’s it’s plodding. It’s very deliberate in it’s pacing and puts the focus almost entirely on one person’s interactions with the aliens. For such a massive global event, the movie manages to feel extremely intimate and grounded and it’s probably the best approximation of how things would play out if we ever did get visited by alien life. I liked the story and thought they did a great job with letting scenes breath, but I will say that I thought the central mystery would have a much bigger payoff than it did.

The whole movie is almost entirely set in one location and in close quarters, but some great cinematography and special effects kept things from getting too stale. There were some great shots of the ships looming against the skyline.

This wouldn’t have worked as well if it wasn’t for Amy Adams’ stellar performance. She really delivered and kept me engaged in the proceedings even after I had already pieced together the mystery.

The cast of characters basically boiled down to three central characters; Louise (Amy Adams), Ian (Jeremy Renner), and Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker). Forest plays the smallest part of them all and only provides a few scenes, I wish he had gotten a bigger part, and Jeremy is only slightly more involved than that. They both serve as straight up supports for Louise who is the driving force behind the movie. This wouldn’t have worked as well if it wasn’t for Amy Adams’ stellar performance. She really delivered and kept me engaged in the proceedings even after I had already pieced together the mystery.

Have you seen Arrival? What’d you think about it? Do you think it’s deserving of a Best Picture nomination? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your rating for the movie.

Arrival
Arrival Reaction
Community Rating1 Vote8
8
out of 10
Conclusion
Arrival's slow, deliberate pacing and intimate focus make for one of the most subdued, cerebral sci-fi movies I've ever seen. It's fantastic writing and a stellar performance from Amy Adams kept the movie interesting even after I pieced together it's central mystery.

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