Aliens are perceived as some sort of a killer machine and their image have been tamed consistently by the films over the years where they were often seen as a threat to humanity that needs to be battled for survival and for that Hollywood is to be held responsible. However, filmmaker Denis Villeneuve (who gave us that chilling Prisoners) is of different opinion and thinks otherwise and gifts us ‘Arrival‘
Amy Adams stars as Dr. Louise Bank, a top linguistic professor, who is recruited by US military forces in Montana, along with physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) for a big assignment that involves communicating with the outer world travelers who have invaded the earth via pebble-shaped spaceship observed in different parts of the world that has made the humans go insane and rattled about their mysterious presence.
What makes Arrival a different beast from the usual alien-invasion films made in the past is the use of emotions and connectivity. It is not only grand in CGI effects but also abundant in emotional intelligence. Till now, we have only seen petrified humans collectively wage a war against the aliens and starts bombing them (for instance Independence Day) and to be honest, we’ve had enough of such films and the recent sequel of Independence Day has only hit the last nail in the coffin. In Arrival, Denis offers a beautiful perspective on how can we humans initiate a dialogue with our outer world friends?
Our first and foremost reaction the moment we see a spaceship would be sense of potential danger and we would make every efforts to counter their move, hardly ever realizing they must be here for a purpose and might not necessarily have any ill-intentions against us. Here Dr Banks uses her linguistic skills to decode their language and is seen trying to interpret the message they wish to convey to the earthlings. The process involves a lot of patience, perseverance and steadily, Banks is drawn empathetically towards these creature and begins to figure out their motive behind their visit.
Arrival meticulously integrate ideas on time, communication and memories that is not only viewer-friendly but also intriguing. Personally, I felt the film was therapeutic in true sense as it revealed a backstory of Banks. She was unable to overcome from her painful past until this task where she finds herself in an extraordinary situation and she comes face to face, bravely introspect it and accepts it in order to create a new vision for her future.
While the male actors Forest Whitaker (as US military officer) and Jeremy Renner are commendable in their respective roles, it is Amy Adams who shines the brightest and is unquestionably the film’s biggest strength. We witness this extraordinarily situations through Amy’s eye. We see her get overwhelmed at the sight of aliens, her excitement to communicate with them and also her fear of how is she going to deal and conclude it, eventually end us up rooting for her transparent and selfless approach towards uncertain form of lives.
Arrival is a soulful brilliant film that hits the right note, possibly the most mature science-fiction films that not only involves intelligence but also emotions. After a long time, we get to see a film that enable us to shatter the villainous shades of extraterrestrials, urges us to behold them from an positive point of view and reignite the thought of friendship that can possible spark and for that we have Denis Villeneuve to thank for.