In “Arrival,” a linguist named Louise (Amy Adams) is hired to complete one the most difficult jobs of her career – communicating with aliens that have landed on earth. Hopes are that this is first contact, and Louise is the perhaps the only human on earth that can do the job. Louise is paired with a scientist Ian (Jeremy Renner) to help her with her task.
The complicated ways of reaching out to an aliens that neither speak or write like humans is a quite a fete. And Louise is able to make head ways verily quickly. The only problem is that the aliens have landed in eleven other places on the earth and communications with the other nation states also trying to communicate with the aliens go awry. This makes interplanetary war seems quite possible. Will Louise pull together all the puzzle pieces in order to find out why the aliens have landed and what is their purpose? The subtleties of language and a personal chain of what appear to be memories hold the key.
“Arrival,” is a thought provoking science fiction story that if you are patient and let the story just be told, has a big pay-off in the end. It is such a please to see after another year of superhero films that are made for only one reason – money. “Arrival,” may not make billions of dollars, but it has one thing lacking most science fiction film – intellect. And it has it in spades.
I call films like this a performance film, in that they are designed to show-off the talent of one actor and in this case, is Amy Adams. Amy has been nominated for five Academy Awards and so far, has come home empty handed. This could just be the right film to bring her to the Oscar podium to receive her first Oscar. Her performance is human, believable and heart-breaking at times.
Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker provide good supporting performance, but nothing award-worthy.
The other component of the film that I like particularly is the script, which was written by Ted Chiang and was based on his story, “The Story of My Life.” The movie is original and thoughtful and could not have been so with the efforts of Chiang. This is Chiang’s first feature film and I look forward to seeing more of his work.
“Arrival,” is rated PG-13 for brief strong language and has a run-time of one hour and 56 minutes.