Denis Villeneuve is on a phenomenal hot-streak now, with Dune’s success crowning him as one of the great science-fiction directors. His first foray into the genre, Arrival, is a striking, cerebral effort that looks set to endure for many more years to come.
Amy Adams was snubbed in awards season for her role as Louise Banks, a linguistic expert who is recruited by the US military to attempt communication with some recently landed aliens. The spaceship reveal is infamous, its enormous width that wreathes parts of it in clouds acts as a home to some superb lingual sequences that pack ethereal beauty with an abstract foreignness that feels totally believable for what extra-terrestrials might be like. Arrival is Villeneuve’s most accessible film, and unquestionably his most emotional. The synthesis of the timelines in the climax scored to Max Richter’s poignant ‘On the Nature of Daylight’, is a defining cinematic moment from the last decade. Expert direction that shows rather than tells is the key to this film; note the visual explanation for the gravity change in the alien spacecraft. A science-fiction marvel.
Arrival is available on Netflix and to buy on DVD on Blu-ray now.