Documentary Module: Arrival Review – Some spoilers.

Before you start reading, there are mild spoilers in this.

Arrival, the new science fiction drama directed by Denis Villeneuve and it stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and also Forrest Whitaker. Now this film is unlike that of the normal sci-fi genre. If your going into this thinking you’re about to experience a movie with a high octane chase in outer space, then your wrong. Whilst interesting as that may be, Arrival manages to deal with the themes of death, discovery and fear whilst keeping to the Sci-fi setting and also mixing it with drama and truth be told. It may be one of the best films I have ever seen. Let alone that of the Sci-Fi genre.

From the outset the viewers are instantly captivated emotionally. You are thrown into the life and times of Doctor Louise Banks – She is a linguist at a local university. In the first ten minutes of the movie the audience learn about her background story and great pain she has been through. As an audience member you feel immense sympathy for Louise in the first ten minutes whilst also having the feeling of knowing her for years when in actual fact she has been on screen mere minutes. Amy Adams KILLS IT in this film by the way!! As does the rest of the cast might I add.

From here we along with the rest of the cast have to unpick the mystery of the mysterious pods that have appeared in 12 different places around the world. It sends the world – and viewers might I add – into a frenzy to discover who the aliens are and what they want. The audience get to find all this out towards the final act but before I go to talk about the final act and characters I want to speak about the filmmaking itself and its themes.

Now the direction and cinematography in this film is amazing, through the vibrant cinematography, direction, editing, soundtrack you name it, the audience are able to feel as if they are a part of this team that are trying to decode what the aliens are up too. The cinematography helps you feel close and personal with Dr Louise Banks, Colonel Weber (Forrest Whitaker) and Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner).  Joe Walker, Bradford Young and Jóhann Jóhannsson (Editor, Cinematographer and Composer) use there talents extremely well in this film. They help us get to know our characters whilst also keeping the tension and mystery high.

Now onto characters. For me what i like most about the characters in this film is how realistic they feel. None of the characters are super intelligent and are not experts in aliens and there languages. They are learning as the film continues just like its audience. Louise’s reaction at the start of the movie when she hears the aliens for the first time and then meets them (Passes out) is how any of us would react if we were in that situation. In certain ways – to me anyway – it almost felt like a documentary in certain aspects. All the characters were realistic and relatable and that is where this films strengths lie.

Now as I’ve gone on about how amazing this film is, I usually have to point out some disadvantages to this movie. Yet im not going too. At least not right now. You see I’ve only seen this film once and truth be told (If you haven’t already guessed) I loved it. Loved every second. The filmmaking was incredible, the story kept me hooked throughout and I wanted to see it again when I left the cinema.

Overall yes it may not be the usual science fiction film im used too but I loved it all the same. I would highly highly recommend this film to anyone

My rating: 10/10



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