Arrival is based on the idea of first contact, with an unknown alien race touching upon the planet and doing nothing but offering limited bits of cryptic information. The arrival pods come in a number of twelve landing in spots across the globe that seem to follow no particular mathematical order. This leads into a worldwide frenzy of ideologies clashing as the multiple nations each deal with this possible threat by their own beliefs. Taking place at the Montana site the story largely follows Louise (Amy Adams) which is a linguistic and the path she takes to communicate with these advanced beings. She's joined by theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) and the two work together to unravel the mystery. They work around the clock in finding solutions to mimic or create a connection between the two races before conflict and confusion takes hold of the world.
It's very much an against the clock type scenario where each moment feels tense and gripping as they work towards a solution. The movie is absolutely fantastic in keeping you guessing along the way with many intense moments to throw you off. It also hid the many twists well without giving much away and despite doing so in this manner it gave a satisfying ending that is definite. Perhaps not in terms of story, but in the sense that you can get a full experience without leaving the theater confused.
Arrival was a beautiful, yet simplistic film that largely just focused on the view point of these characters while still providing enough information that we could see what was happening in the world around them. It covered all possible aspects of an encounter of this kind and doing so in a gripping way. The acting was fantastic with both Adams and Renner capturing the scientist role perfectly. They did this with anxious moments that were followed by genuine scenes of exciting discovery.
You're never sure where Arrival is headed and that's part of the magic for the film as it keeps you in suspense the entire way through. It also doesn't leave you hanging like other movies of the sort and you feel satisfied knowing exactly what happened afterwards. This is one the best movies I've seen filled with so many moments of excitement that were countered with tense scenes where things could have gone anyway. It's particularly exciting if you like the idea of first contact with aliens and this covered all possible bases of what could happen. The acting was perfect here and it's a film that will demand your attention through each moment. It also explores many elements of how humanity views certain subjects and the way we react across various scenarios feeling very real.
Review for Arrival at Theater with Standard Viewing
Screening Provided by Paramount
Rating Overall: 8.8