After Sicario I should have known that Denis Villeneuve doesn’t like to conform to conventions, but I just assumed I knew how Arrival was going to turn out before I watched it. I was so sure it would just be a tense movie about Amy Adams trying to talk to aliens, and to an extent I was right, but I was also completely wrong.
Amy Adams plays linguist Louise Banks who is so good at her job that she is the first person the Army calls when beings from another world show up. The Army is hoping that she can find a way to communicate with these aliens. She of course takes on the task even though she is haunted by the death of her daughter. She is teamed up with a charming scientist named Ian Donnelly played by Jeremy Renner.
I don’t want to give anything away, but this movie is all about the ending. It is almost impossible to talk about without discussing how the film ends. It is almost like an early M. Night Shyamalan film where the ending changes everything, so that just leaves me with what the trailers show. Which is squid-like aliens and whiteboards. You will see a lot of those two things in this movie, along with Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. I will say it was very nice to see a movie with aliens that didn’t involve a bunch of shooting. It was refreshing that everyone’s first thought was, “Let’s try to talk to these squids!”.
While the movie had a lot of talented actors in it, this movie belonged to Amy Adams. She must have had like 80% of the screen time. Thankfully she is very talented, so she is a joy to watch. Renner, Whitaker and Co. are pretty much there as human props for her to play off of, and they do their job well.
This movie is kind of a slow burn, but it pays off in the end. I am a big fan of original Sci-Fi, and Amy Adams gives a great performance, so this film is well worth watching. Next time however, I am not going to let Villeneuve catch me off guard! Though his next movie is Blade Runner 2049, so … maybe he will?