Review: Arrival

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This is easily the best film I’ve seen in 2016. It may be an alien invasion film, but it’s so much more than that; it’s also about bigger issues like communication and working together to reach a common goal.

Where Arrival really stands apart from almost every other alien invasion film, like the recent Independence Day: Resurgence for example, is that the aliens aren’t here threatening the Earth and not a shot is fired. In fact, there’s only one explosion in the whole film.

The hero of the film is Amy Adams’ character, she’s not a soldier but a linguist, who is brought in after the US military realise the aliens aren’t hostile but can’t be understood. So, it’s up to her character and Jeremy Renner’s character to work out how the alien’s language works as it’s unlike any language in the world. All this is going on at multiple sites around the world, but paranoia between nations threatens to ruin everything.

Saying much more about the plot would give things away but the twist – if it can even be called that, as it’s actually there from the off – is a real gut punch even after what you learn at the beginning of the film. But when it’s revealed, you’ll wonder when everything started, how it links and where it ends.

This is a film that makes you think, requires re-watching and is an example of everything that sci-fi can be when it’s done well. If it doesn’t win best adapted screenplay and best actress at this year’s Oscars, I’ll be gob-smacked. See it three times, right now!

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