Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Film Review: ARRIVAL

Amy Adams ponders the meaning of everything.

They're back, and this time they're weirder than ever. The Creatures from Outer Space as depicted in the latest sci-fi thriller, Arrival, almost defy description, looking somewhat like giant, headless hands with seven skinny fingers that do not just the walking but the talking too. As usual they've dropped in without calling first, stashed inside enormous, inscrutable lozenges that hover overhead and cause panic and chaos below. And again, the burning question is: What do they want from us?

Amy Adams, looking uncharacteristically drab, stars as the unlikely heroine, a college linguistics professor tapped by the U.S. Army to try and interpret the aliens' funny noises. She accepts the job and is suddenly whisked away to an undisclosed location in Montana, site of one of the twelve spaceships dispersed around the globe. Along with a team of mathematicians and scores of serious, uniformed men, all dressed in camouflage for some reason, Amy is the only woman in sight and on screen. (Apparently there is a very thick glass ceiling in the world of alien intervention.) She works 24/7 to crack the code of the aliens' language, assuming they have one because, after all, doesn't everyone?

Despite how silly this all may sound, much of the film is oddly moving and profound, tackling our beliefs concerning death and dying, the future and the past, and the very nature of time itself. For example, I saw the movie tonight but I might be writing this review in three years. Or maybe I wrote it thirty years ago or just thought of it tomorrow. Who knows. It's all one day. Or is it? If you knew then what you know now, would you do it anyway?

Despite the complete lack of sex, scenery, action, humor and special effects, Arrival warrants repeated viewings. I am definitely planning on seeing it again last year.

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