‘Arrival’ Movie Review Roundup: Amy Adams Film Gets Top Marks
Arrival, the new science fiction movie which was just released yesterday, has already gathered a lot of positive reviews from critics. The movie is a story about humanity’s first contact with aliens, and the struggle to communicate with them.
Amy Adams stars as the main character in the film, Louise. She plays a gifted linguistics professor who has done some spot work for the government translating videos made by foreign insurgents. When a strange alien ship arrives on Earth, and the squid-like aliens in it try to communicate with incomprehensible sounds, Louise is given the task of figuring out what they are saying. In the end, she solves the mystery by using writing instead of speech to talk with them.
The movie script was inspired by a 1998 short story by Ted Chiang named Story of Your Life. His short stories have received the highest prizes for science fiction, although he has only written 15 of them in his life.
The movie also Forest Whitaker as Colonel Weber, Jeremy Renner as Louise’s colleague Ian, and has a superb soundtrack by Jóhann Jóhannsson. Critics have compared the film to ‘The Martian’, another recent science fiction exploration that received a lot of awards and praise.
Critics praise the complex story of the movie, weaving Louise’s personal journey with the global crisis created by the aliens’ arrival and the different interpretations of their messages. The movie is action-packed and thought-provoking at the same time, deviating from the cliches in most science fiction stories.
“The entire cast is strong, but Arrival is Adams’s movie from the first frame to the last… the performance she gives is mesmerizingly open, by turns uplifting and sorrowful. If you are unmoved by the film’s conclusion, then you are made of considerably harder stuff than I. As awards season gets under way, there are several promising movies visible hovering on the horizon. But for now, the best film of the year, ambitious in conception and extraordinary in execution, has arrived.” – Christopher Orr, The Atlantic
“What’s remarkable about Arrival is its contemplative core—and, of course, Ms. Adams’s star performance, which is no less impassioned for being self-effacing. This film is very much a product of its time—open to other dimensions of existence, though coolly observant in the process. I enjoyed it, and respect it.” – Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
Shot under gray skies and in artful shadows by cinematographer Bradford Young, scored to wickedly disorienting music by Oscar-nominated “Sicario” composer Johann Johannsson, Arrival will cast a spell on some while merely discombobulating others. Right there, I’d say that indicates it’s worth seeing. – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
You can watch the trailer for ‘Arrival’ here: