Have you ever watched a film that completely blew your mind? I know you have; afterall, Christopher Nolan is known to everyone. When people watched Memento or The Prestige or Inception or Interstellar for the first time, they went crazy. They gave such films a name – MindF. But movies like Inception and Memento have always been there in the past before they went mainstream. Blade Runner, Jacob’s Ladder, Brazil, Eraserhead and 2001: A Space Odyssey are a few which attempted to puzzle the brains of the viewers. They did not have big audiences at the time but developed a huge following as the time passed. The reason they did not have big audiences is that most of the people go to movies for Entertainment and such movies do not entertain, they play with your brain and make you feel like your whole life was a lie. They make you think and some people do not like to think; some people just want to enjoy. These movies don’t make millions and not everyone has a huge following like Christopher Nolan. Taking such risks in a Industry is not certainly a smart move. But there are some people who’d always try to take challenges and prove their worth (Shane Carruth, anyone?). Some people who will make films that play with your mind and awaken the genius in you.
Arrival is one such rare gem from Denis Velleneuve, who has proved many times that he is the next big thing. If you look at his track record, you won’t find anything bad. He is an amazing director who has the ability to create tension and make you uncomfortable. If you do not believe me, go and watch Incendies, Prisoners or Sicario. With Arrival, he tried his hands on a new genre and did he deliver? He absolutely did.
Arrival (2016): Plot
Arrival is a Science Fiction featuring Aliens (duh). But while most of the Alien invasion films focus more on the Aliens and visual spectacles, Arrival is the exact opposite. It focuses more on the humans instead of the Aliens. It is the story of Louise (Amy Adams) who is a linguist and is grief stricken by the death of her daughter. One day, 12 Alien Pods appear out of nowhere at 12 different locations on earth. They do not wreak havoc like they do in most of the Hollywood films. We are tired of seeing that countless times, thanks to Independence day. They just appear and that’s all. Now the big question is why are they here? Well, that is the plot of the film, even the poster has it written at the center, in all caps. The whole movie is about finding the answer to this question. I would not spoil it for you but let me tell you one thing; If you love challenging films, this film is a treat for you. If you do not and hate slow movies then skip it, please. This movie explores many interesting ideas and is quite thought provoking. It also deals with many themes, especially of free will vs fate. The way the Aliens communicate in this film is very interesting too. Their language is made up of weird cicles that they form using their tentacles. It results in some very interesting ideas about time. OK, I am revealing too much so I’ll just stop here. If you have seen the movie and didn’t understand it, I’ve explained it here.
Arrival (2016): Review
The cinematography is gorgeous. The first shot that shows the Pod for the first time in its full view is breathtaking; most of the shots are. Bradford Young has done a brilliant job in creating tension with the help of visuals. But it could not have been possible without the amazing music by Johann Johannsson. Man, that background score scared me more than the visuals. It was kind of …..different.
Now, lets talk about Amy Adams who delivers a powerhouse of a performance here. No one gets five Oscar nods for nothing. She is one of my favorite actresses and her work in this film is tremendous. She played her role of a grief stricken mother perfectly, no complains at all. It’s only because of her performance that this film becomes much more than a Sci-Fi. It has an emotional impact on you. Jeremmy Renner did not have much to do but he was good at whatever he did.
So, I can say that Arrival is one of the best Science Fiction films of the decade, if not the best. I loved is mostly because it was different. It is a Science Fiction with a soul. I have watched a film after four or five months and I am happy that I watched this.