An incredibly in depth, psychologically pleasing science fiction flick, ‘Arrival’ is a stunning puzzle box that plays out a realistic depiction of what would happen if aliens landed on Earth. With a lack of action and tackling difficult subjects like time travel, aliens and humanity in general, it could so easily have ended up cheesy or contrived but thankfully, Arrival has enough foresight to ignore those traps and in doing so, becomes fresh entry to the bloated science fiction genre.
After a brief glimpse into the loss of her daughter, we follow Louise Banks (Amy Adams), a language expert who’s recruited by the US government after strange egg-shaped objects appear across the globe. As events unfold and its discovered that aliens inhabit these objects, Louise tries to translate their language and find out what the aliens want while nations across the world rest on a knife edge with global war threatening at any moment.
Unlike other films that have tackled this subject and opted for a more action-orientated focus, Arrival takes a more methodical, character driven focus and it works perfectly. With a relatively small cast, focusing primarily on Louise and colleague Jeremy (Ian Donnelly) for the most part, we get time to intimately know these characters and more importantly, care about them. This approach works throughout and its plot twists and small reveals are well paced too.
There isn’t much else to say without giving away the plot which would be a disservice to this fantastic film. What I will say, is that Arrival is a smartly written and tackles its subject matter with respect and enough confidence not to stumble at any time. Well deserving of its critical acclaim, Arrival is a great film and shows the science fiction genre is far from dead.