The stagnating effect of cliches can be the death of a genre in many viewers’ eyes, so it’s gratifying when a film like ‘Arrival’ throws these tried and tested tricks to the wind to create something new and intriguing.
When the appearance of twelve vast spacecraft creates a global panic, Linguist Louise Banks is tasked with opening communications and deciphering the aliens’ language. With worldwide tension mounting, Banks must race to uncover the aliens’ true purpose on Earth.
‘Arrival’ is a tense and unpredictable experience. The aliens are truly alien, and the rejection of established archetypes of the genre makes them all the more strange and unsettling.
Simultaneously, the film’s greatest strength is its firm basis in reality. The pseudo-scientific ‘magic bullets’ so common throughout sci-fi are nowhere to be seen. The difficulties and intricacies of the scientists’ investigative process are fascinating to watch, while the backdrop of international suspicion and uncooperativeness feels chillingly familiar.
Amy Adams gives a commanding, nuanced performance as Banks; precisely the sort of female lead we need more of.
A groundbreaking and enthralling film with a fundamental message of cooperation and understanding that resonates with our own troubled time, ‘Arrival’ is not to be missed.