‘Arrival’ has arrived and is getting highly acclaimed by critics, currently holding a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes as I write. ‘Arrival’ is directed by Denis Villeneuve (‘Sicario’) and stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker.
The film follows Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) who is a well-known translator, and while teaching her students as a lecturer one day, she learns to discover with the world that we are not alone as one of twelve mysterious shells have been placed in twelve countries. Why they are here, remains a mystery to be solved as Dr. Banks is one of the chosen few to be selected to meet these aliens and discover the real reason they have arrived.
Right off the bat, the movie is directed beautifully with a consistent focus on holding shots for a single frame. What I mean by that, is for the most part, the camera is placed in one spot, keeping everything that is happening all in one shot in one single frame, which is executed brilliantly. It adds to the environment and you as a viewer are invited to view what’s happening by looking around on what’s on screen. Although, at times shows you how cold and terrifying the world has become, an example is the opening shot of Dr. Banks reacting to the news of these aliens, and instead of looking at the television screen, the camera is exclusively locked on to Amy Adams’ character as we see the fear and despair in her eyes, which creates this feeling of dread and fear of what’s to come.
‘Arrival’ is one of the quietest movies of this year, being slow-paced, by using its slowness to explore these characters and these aliens. Never once I was bored, it carefully took its time to build up the film, even though the climax doesn’t quite work despite everything else being a wonder to behold. The film’s visuals are impressive, walking upside down and the designs of these creatures are very impressive.
Without spoiling, the film stumbles on its third act, sucking all the tension out of what came before. It went into the predictable route once we learn the true meanings of these flashbacks, which became very confusing to follow and trying to piece things together.
What started out amazing, slowly loses its way into a tension-less movie by its shaky third act, which otherwise was a beautifully directed tension filled sci-fi thriller.
‘Arrival’ is ambitious, but maybe too ambitious and daring, although it does have some amazing visuals and tremendous character design with a great performance by Amy Adams.