Arrival Review

By Emanuel Ortiz

Arrival is one of the most brilliant movies to come out of 2016 due to its imaginative and original story, the cast, and the powerful score that accompanies them.

Arrival follows the story of linguist expert Louise Banks (Amy Adams), who is recruited by the military to translate alien communication. Several UFOs have landed across the globe, causing panic and leaving the question as to what their purpose is. Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) helps Louise try to translate their language and understand what they’re looking for while Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) oversees the operation. The cast did a wonderful job, with Amy Adams as the standout. I wasn’t sure about her character at first but by the time you get to see her translate the alien communication, you’re sold on her character and the fact that she is a linguist. Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker also do a great job in their roles, each convincing me that they care about the work they’re doing.

This movie was shrouded in mystery when I first watched it, and I believe it completely helped with the viewing so I’ll leave the small summary with this: it’s not an alien action invasion movie. This isn’t Independence Day or anything like that. It’s more cerebral and is best watched with someone else so you can talk about what you just experienced because it is quite something else. At moments you might feel lost while watching this movie, but everything pays off in the end. The story was absolutely flawless. I had a rather bad impression when first starting the movie. I thought there were scenes added into the movie that felt out of place or just dragged out too long. As the movie kept going, there was a reveal that made everything I had just seen make sense. This movie is one big puzzle that needed every piece shown in the movie to make it all the more enjoyable to watch.

The score was absolutely stunning. There were moments of dread that the music did well in conveying when Louise enters the alien ship. There plenty of moments sprinkled throughout the movie where the score really helped set the mood for what was going on in the scene. There is a scene later down the road that I especially thought was handled wonderfully. The new story and stellar cast was already a treat but the score truly helped elevate this movie and make me feel as though I was alongside these characters in these situations, feeling their dread, anger and sadness.

The director (Denis Villenuve) masterfully crafted all these elements and made them work with each other. And the visual was also different and original. Just from the design of the UFOs to the interior and the design of the aliens. It was different and refreshing because of it. I felt as though I was more intelligent coming out of this movie and it has inspired me to write all the more.

Every single piece of Arrival worked on more than just the average level. Every piece was stellar. There aren’t many movies that can make a crowd just leaving the theater, engage with other people they don’t even know about what they just saw. Arrival is that type of movie. It’s the type of movie to open your mind and think about the story and question all the little elements you just witness. By the time the end of the movie comes around, you’ll be surprised by how many little details were put into this already excellent movie.

Score: A+