Movie Review: Arrival.
The Aliens Only Want to Talk: 4 Stars.
This movie concerns the arrival of 12 huge UFOs that are located at specific sites all over the world. Naturally, the world authorities are concerned.
The story is not the usual standard Hollywood fare that aliens only want to invade, eradicate us and take over our planet e.g. Independence Day 1 & 2, War of the Worlds, Day Earth Stood Still etc.
The movie is a mind/consciousness expansion experience and it certainly held my wide-eyed attention throughout. I asked myself: Do aliens exist and if they came here what would they say? What would they do? None of these questions are plausible unless communication can be established. In this event, a simple misunderstanding could have dire results for humanity; so the authorities want to get it right.
Amy Adams plays the lead character: Louise Banks, a world-renowned linguist; an expert in communications. She is invited to board one of these strange spaceships and establish a dialogue of sorts with the aliens. Gradually, a breakthrough is made, and a level of communication is basically bridged. However, like all communication with ‘foreigners’ some words have multiple meanings (imagine translating ‘crazy son-of-a- bitch’ to Chinese Diplomats, as has happened at one time: ‘mentally deranged child of a whore’ is simply not as funny or affectionate when lost in translation.) So the issue of whether the aliens meant using a ‘Weapon’ or a ‘Tool’ is communicated to the earthlings with hyper vigilant results.
Because the movie deals with communications and questions of space/time travel, there are some trippy moments. Some movies have flash-backs, this movie has flash-forwards to events that haven’t happened yet.
The Global Socio-Political questions the movie implied in the event an arrival ever occurred are: “What would we do if they came? And, what globally united and uniform voice would represent us? Having sovereign states all over the world that may act unilaterally, and do their own thing in an anxious response to an alien arrival; could jeopardize us all.
The director, Denis Villeneuve, who directed the superb Sicario movie last year, has done a great job with this film as well.
Please know: it is one of those movies where the ending is open to interpretation (whether the director is leaving the audience to decide or leaving room for a sequel I’m not sure). But I prefer a story be told and concluded with a satisfying closure. Having said that, I felt quite light-headed by the end. With the movie’s pace, issues and scenery challenging me to different ‘what if’ levels of consciousness.
I enjoyed it. 4 Stars.
Take Care & Cheers