Thursday, November 24, 2016


It's nigh impossible to write about Denis Villeneuve's Arrival without giving away any crucial details about the film's premise. Yes, it's a fascinating film to watch (everyone has sung their praises many times over the last few weeks) but is it as faultless as others claim it is? Not really.

In stark contrast to some of Villeneuve's previous films like Prisoners and Enemy, Arrival has perhaps the first time since who knows when that a well-written female character is in a film by him. (And yes, this includes Sicario.) But even then there's flaws within the execution.

That's not to say Amy Adams wasn't right for the part. She's very good, no denying that. But perhaps an actress who's done their fair share of meatier roles probably would've been a better choice. (Speaking of which, Adams needs to find parts that have more meat to them.)

But what of Arrival itself? Indeed it has borrowed elements from Close Encounters of the Third Kind but overall its story seems to think it's smarter than it actually is. What at first seems to appear clever is actually half-executed in its attempts. And the more one thinks it over, the more convoluted its ideas become.

Arrival may seem initially to be the very thing needed in these trying times but in reality it's nothing more than your usual sci-fi yarn: focusing solely on what's happening on American soil, using a flimsy allegory to reference current events, and overall having an eyeroll-worthy conclusion. In all honesty, Villeneuve should probably start thinking about a different strategy for future films.

My Rating: ***1/2

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