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Title :Arrival
Release : 20 January 2017
Rating :8.3/10
Country:USA
Language:English | Russian | Mandarin
Runtime: 116 min
Genre : Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Stars :Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

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Arrival trailer

Arrival review

When the aliens show up in Arrival, it’s not with your typical invasion-movie bombast. The first sign of something unusual comes when a symphony of smartphone notifications ripples round a sparsely attended lecture by language professor Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams).

Attendees are alerted to the news story that’s about to dominate the globe: enormous, pebble-shaped spacecraft have arrived, and they’re hovering in the air at 12 random locations around Earth.

It’s a typically understated start to a super-smart sci-fi that’ll blow your mind and have you on the edge of your seat without recourse to explosions or souped-up fighter jets. Take note, Independence Day: Resurgence

That it grips from its first moments is thanks in part to a superb opening montage, in which we’re introduced to Banks and the daughter she loses to illness; it’s a heartbreaking précis that plays like Up’s tearjerking opener. Banks now lives alone in a remote cabin, continuing her work as a language expert, clearly keeping most other humans at arm’s length.

She’s drawn into the larger story when Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) recruits her for her language skills: turns out the alien pods open their gates for a small window of time every 18 hours, and the US government wants to send her onto the one floating above Montana, along with theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), to start a dialogue with the extra-terrestrials on-board to find out why they’re here. Across Earth, other nations are plotting their own interactions with the ships.

A combination of language studies and global politics sounds dry, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

As the plot unfolds and the visitors’ motives begin to come into focus, director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) ensures it all plays out with clockwork precision; even when the jargon gets a bit technical, it always manages to sound like it’s making sense (it helps that it’s frequently leavened with humour).

Banks summing up the difficulty in getting the ‘heptapod’ aliens to understand one simple sentence is a delight. It’s not easy to turn the creatures’ subtitles on: their language takes the form of inky black spores that form patterned circles. How do you clarify the distinction between a weapon and a tool with a species that talks in shapes? In this case, Google Translate won’t quite cut it.

Amy Adams is, as ever, superb, ensuring you believe the character’s heartache and authority, acting as the audience’s unpatronising entry point. It’s a strong month for Adams, who has another impressive turn in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals, so expect her to add more Oscar nominations to her collection (of five) when awards season rolls round. Jeremy Renner provides sturdy support in a role that requires toning down the tough-guy Avengers act to pleasing effect, though this is very much Adams’ film.

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