Ahead of next years ‘Blade Runner 2049’, director Denis Villeneuve’s latest film ‘Arrival’ was very much under the sci-fi spotlight, would this film bode well for the sci-fi he will direct next? Although, whilst maybe not in sci-fi, Villeneuve certainly didn’t need to prove anything to me as over the last few years he has directed some fantastic movies which showcase so well why he is one of the best in the business working today.
‘Arrival’ tells the story of twelve unidentified spaceships that randomly appear around the globe and the team that are assembled to try and work out just what is going on. The narrative is very well thought out. Don’t confuse this with a trashy aliens vs humans all out war kind of flick, ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ took care of that already this year. Instead this is more of a drama with a focus on characters as well as the overall story. I can imagine that the narrative will only become more and more impressive with repeat viewings. I’ll admit that after the initial opening to the film and as the characters are trying to learn about these mysterious crafts the pace can feel a little slow. However, this is nicely combated with a sequence where Jeremy Renner’s character brings the audience up to speed on all the findings that the teams across the globe have found. The narrative surprised me too, I wasn’t expecting the breakdown of language, present as our characters try to communicate with the owners of these spaceships, to be so interesting.
I’ve come to expect many things from a Villeneuve film, one of these is stunning cinematography and I was not disappointed with what I saw here. Bradford Young the cinematographer here has surely delivered a career best with ‘Arrival’ as there are some truly magnificent shots, especially of the spaceships and their surroundings. As well as a visual treat, Villeneuve’s films are also an experience for the ears thanks to the frequent collaboration between himself and Jóhann Jóhannsson. He does some tremendous work here, different from his previous scores due to the significant, but not entire, ease of tension by comparison. This only shows further the strength of this score, always matching the tone of the scene. This tone was also matched by the solid performances of the relatively small cast. Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker do well but can only really be credited as supporting members as this film belongs to Amy Adams who is the core of pretty much every scene. She takes on this challenge wonderfully giving one of her best performances to date and if it was up to me probably earning herself an Oscar nomination.
‘Arrival’ continues Villeneuve’s strong run of quality film-making and definitely establishes itself as one of the strongest in the genre this decade. If I’m honest I didn’t love the movie the way I wanted to but I honestly think I will grow to appreciate it more with every watch. The storytelling is great and with everything packaged up so nicely the arrival of this new sci-fi into cinemas will be a real treat for fans of film.
Rating – 8/10
Question: What is your favourite sci-fi film of the decade so far?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
Thanks for reading this review and please let me know what you thought about the movie! Leave a comment below or drop me a tweet over at @HCMovieReviews.