Arrival (Denis Villeneuve – 2016) A

I was looking forward to the next Villeneuve film after his spectacular Sicario. He did not disappoint. We got a fresh, intelligent and deliberate take on what and how first contact might be like. How “alien” aliens might seem to us. How they might think, feel, behave, communicate,… It’s a spectacularly well-shot film. this one is one of those beautiful movies that is really worth experiencing on the big screen. The story centers on a linguistics professor who is hired to communicate with the visitors. So, instead of coming out guns blazing and fireworks all over the place, the first step is to try and talk to them. Makes sense. She is played perfectly by Amy Adams who delivers a tender, smart and tough performance. The film is perfectly plotted and slowly unwinds to reveal the mystery of the aliens as well as the bigger picture of what is going on. It cuts back and forth with images and timelines. It reminds me both of Terrence Malick’s films and other smart “science fiction” movies like Solaris (both versions are excellent, the original and the Clooney remake). I loved this picture and will not delve into any more detail. Suffice it to say that at every turn this is not a typical aliens-come-to-earth film. It’s a life affirming fable about humanity, the importance of communication, love and family.

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