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Arrival Movie Review (2016) | Denis Villeneuve Helms a Masterpiece

Wonderstruck! Dumbfounded! Arrival movie confounds you as it crushes dams of conventions. It is the arrival of a change, a different outlook at the word ‘alien’. So many movies we have seen hitherto, all showing aliens in an ugly limelight, branding them destroyers, marauders or invaders. It used to paint the same old picture with its destructive cliches.

Arrival movie changes everything. Your perception about strangers in our land. It stresses on the fact they could be here for a reason other than war. The movie unfolds gorgeously from a stupefying elusive pickle into a mind-boggling explosive revelation. That’s the entire driving force on which Arrival runs.

Direction of Arrival Movie

Denis Villeneuve stays highly revered in my head owing to all the uncanny topics he picks. He isn’t afraid to experiment, takes bold awe-inspiring risks and literally fuels avant-garde cinema. His direction abounds with intelligence that nips at our traditions of perceiving movies. He challenges us to think, knocking us out of our comfort zone. It’s ballsy, different and simply remarkable. Something we don’t see everyday in cinema today. Primarily because such films vexes many, and then all the movies end up becoming nothing but moderate crowd-pleasers. But this man right here, never ceases to take risks.

still of Amy Adams as Louise Banks and Jeremy Renner as Ian Donnelly in Arrival movie

In particular I love how Denis Villeneuve imparts tranquil focus to his frames. Everything happens for a reason. It merges and overlaps with wistful thinking and asks of you to do the same. In those momentary transitions you are forced to hear your thoughts, you think of the possibilities and given his reputation try to envision the figurative side of the story.

Plot of the Arrival Movie (Minor Spoilers Ahead)

Created on a story by Ted Chiang titled ‘Story of Your Life‘ the movie runs beautifully making up stunning placid frames for its plot. To understand the movie truly you must get this first: There is no definite order! It is a ragbag of tenses. And Denis, the genius he is, intermingles them often supersedes them brilliantly amongst each other. The main theme goes like this:

Louise Banks is an insanely gifted linguist who is sought after by a US Army Colonel to communicate with alien spaceships that have landed on Earth. She meets physicist Ian Donnelly who has also been hired to accompany her for the job.

still of alien letters and symbols from Arrival movie

I loved how Denis decided to show repercussions of alien arrival. Betwixt his poised frames we get to see our world flame up in chaos, even though all alien ships did was stand still on our ground. The contextual insinuations that human mind read are beyond our grasp. It goes on to show how humans are akin bubbles waiting to explode with a mere instigation without comprehending the what, the why and the how of a situation.

What then follows is constant prodding in order to understand the language of the aliens to figure out their true purpose of visit. The final revelation is so huge (and yes it has time theory entailed) that I have decided to pen a separate article to expound it better. But really, you need to watch it to experience that climactic relentless pile driver yourself.

You can pre-order Arrival movie here:


Music and Screenplay

The music of Arrival has been given by none other than 2 times Oscar nominee Johann Johannsson himself.  It is beautifully done, you have to live it to truly experience it. It being an art movie, limited words get spoken. But those that are there try to expand how huge the subject of language is. Also, there are pretty cool one-liners that don’t fail to titillate your ears every now and then. Like when Ian Donnelly confesses:

You know I’ve had my head tilted up to the stars for as long as I can remember. You know what surprised me the most? It wasn’t meeting them. It was meeting you.

What also constantly elevates the movie is an artful performance by Amy Adams. Being the lead protagonist, the driving force, the film basically revolves all around her. If it weren’t for her, things would have been really different. A nod to the movie casting there! Great Job.

The Final Verdict

Arrival is not for everybody. I learnt this the hard way as I was compelled to hear two of my friends, who accompanied me to watch the movie, snore profusely throughout the movie. It was ‘their’ loss of course. Because it was only by the time we reach the end that we get to learn the colossal secret. It wraps up beautifully around the concept that eludes us throughout. It almost brings back memories from Christopher Nolan‘s magnum opus Interstellar movie.

Read Interstellar movie review.

You know what else really makes me happy? It is the director’s next colossal project. It is none other than Denis Vileneuve himself who helms the Blade Runner sequel with Jared Leto and Harrison Ford in the vanguard. Can’t wait for that one as well.

You can check out the trailer of Arrival movie here:

Tomorrowland Review (2015)

Bird soars!

Disney’s fast paced sci-fi adventure Tomorrowland is an entertaining package. With a great fantastical story in its vanguard, the flick unfurls into a beauty thanks to powerful performances by Clooney, Hugh Laurie and the brilliant Britt Robertson. What constantly gallops the story is its mystery quotient that unfolds gorgeously with luster, amazement and pizzazz. Britt lets you see everything with her eyes of awe as you sit on her saddle to perceive the beauty of an unseen futuristic world that is not only downright advanced but marvelous too.

Tomorrowland is something we have always dreamt of. A place where limits of the mundane don’t bind us. We are free to choose our profession and use ideas to build something beautiful without inhibitions from stuff that bring us down – malice, regulations and confinements.

As a kid, I have always wanted to split open the world’s mystery and walk, with open arms, into the magical dimension of what-ifs. The possibility of the existence of different dimensions in our own has always beamed me up. The part that follows Britt discovering the pin that shows her Tomorrowland is an excellent reflection of our childhood fantasies. How many times have I dreamt of finding something that took me away from all this! Also the frames that follow Britt literally globe-trotting to see the future are visually majestic.

This movie skims the surface of dimensions, portals, and time travel subtly, without prodding into it like pros. This could be counted as a con to the movie. However, it being a Disney flick the specifics can be overlooked. Also, at times you feel the profundity factor missing from the movie, but not for once does the cast drop its guard. Excellent performances I would say buffed up everything, not to mention the concept that keeps you riveted.

Kabooms happening in the middle of the light and the crowd not caring, people disappearing without people noticing, not capturing the world’s reactions are some of the instants that would make you think out loud, “Really?” The dark is completely absent from the movie. There is no time where people sit and brood for a while about the happenings. Even the animation sometimes looks…well really animated. But that was the kind of movie it was supposed to be. A Disney movie!

Screenplay is great, with the majority of the melodrama brought in to play by the animate Athena, and Frank taking things up from there. Hugh Laurie as Nix is exceptional with his villainy touch. His reflection on mankind’s recklessness was really something.

Overall a good movie! Worth a watch!