by Wyatt Backer firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the long four-day weekend, I had lots of time on my hands. One way I spent this time was by watching Denis Villeneuve's Arrival, starring some pretty big names like Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker. I've been a fan of Villeneuve's movies since he released Prisoners, a gritty thriller about a horrid abduction. Last year he released Sicario, another gritty thriller with hitmen and the Mexican Cartel, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Being exposed to these dramatic and enticing films, I was very surprised when he announced Arrival at the Venice Film Festival, and so were many others.
The "alien invasion" category brings back memories of action and adventure, which are not exactly the kind of tenacious films that Villeneuve usually makes. However, within the first couple minutes, I could see this was no ordinary alien film. In past performances, I've seen Amy Adams over-act and feel kind of overbearing, but I didn't get that vibe from her this time in her character Louise, a linguist. Jeremy Renner has also had some underwhelming performances in the past, but I really liked his performance as an egotistical but reasonable theoretical physicist named Ian. Together they had a strange chemistry, but it worked well. Forest Whitaker also did very well as a "get to the point" Colonel. His role was kind of cliche, but it was necessary to advance the plot.
The plot was a complex one, with some mysterious flashbacks and lots of different settings, but it stayed anchored with Louise and Ian trying to figure out the alien's language. Through the conflicts it sent a powerful political message. The twelve alien ships all had teams from other countries working on the same issue, the alien language. They needed to figure out what the aliens wanted. When the countries cut communication with each other, things got heated and brash decisions were made. It indicated that sometimes the greatest threats are not unknown, but rather caused by us.