Arrival (2016)

I’m writing this review after watching the movie for the second time. This time in its entirety. I may have missed the very beginning the first time.

The movie follows two scientists as they try to communicate with an extraterrestrial. While also following our linguist’s personal life.

When you first watch this movie, you see how bland our protagonist’s life is. Aliens land on earth and she shows up to work like it is normal. I mean that shows how awkward her character is. They evacuated the school and you still go to work? Right…

You also might feel confused because of the movie’s flip-flopping timeline but I promise you it is all explained.

The movie doesn’t focus on external events but mainly on the scientists attempt to communicated and understand the Alien’s language. It has elements of your typical military resistance to scientific exploration and even puts in news blurbs about riots. These are mainly used to show how the world is reacting. Even though the military is yielding to science we learn the situation round the world is slowly deteriorating.

As the movie begins to weave in the personal life of our linguist, we can almost immediately attribute these visions to her being overworked and stressed out. At least that it what I thought as I tried to put it all together. The movie progresses quickly as the external situation gets worse. War is about to breakout as other nations are no longer communicating what they have learned. Eventually the visions start to fall in line and the aliens tell her that she has the weapon they intended to deliver. The weapon being the ability to see time. It is kind of confusing because we don’t know exactly when she obtained this gift.

This gift is what ends the movie and nearly prevents other nations from attacking our visitors. My only gripe with the US Government response is when the CIA agents starts shouting about treason and takes command. I get it but is just seems like and overplayed military mannerism which will forever be how the US Government responds to everything.

Now, the movie doesn’t really play on emotions too well. No hair-raising suspense scenes that I can recall feeling. No crazy battles or fights. It truly is just a story being told. The one scene where she gets to talk to the alien face to face is a little weird with the CGI hair and all.

The acting for this movie is truly and art. I mean I can’t say any part of the movie seemed fake. Everyone was flawless in their performance. Character development is a bit weird however because we see glimpses of the future, so I had trouble determining if there really was any. But since the movie is small in nature with not a lot of moving parts I don’t feel it is a big issue here. Props go to the writers and director also for laying out the movie in a way that explains it at the end and puts all the pieces together.

I feel it does try to show that we, as a species, can accomplish much more if we work together than go at a problem alone. Something that science always teaches us, yet governments seem to ignore. The movie is about communication and they wrapped it in a really good story about alien contact.

I give this movie four out of five stars. I take a star away because it may not appeal to a broad audience because it takes a little figuring out to understand what is going on. If the beginning doesn’t hook you then you may not watch the movie.

I would highly recommend this film. It feels very short for something almost two hours long.

On a side note, the sound effects they used can be loud and bass heavy. I found myself adjusting the volume constantly to hear what people were saying and then lowering it to not go deaf from the alarms.

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