Thursday, November 10, 2016

Arrival (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

“Arrival” About More Than Extraterrestrials
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

My brother runs multiple computers that “listen” for messages from outer space. It’s part of the SETI@Home program.

SETI is short for the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence.

As Agent Mulder used to say in TV’s “X-Files,” the truth is out there.

However, in “Arrival” -- the new science-fiction movie playing at Tropic Cinema -- the truth is closer to home when extraterrestrials arrive on earth.

As spacecraft land around the world, a task force is assembled to investigate the enigmatic visitors. A linguistics specialist (Amy Adams), a physicist (Jeremy Renner), and an Army colonel (Forest Whitaker) team up to avert a global confrontation.

Called “a thinking man’s sci-fi film,” it pays homage to Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” while retaining director Denis Villeneuve’s own unique vision.

Contrary to Villeneuve’s previous works (“Prisoners,” “Sicario”) “Arrival” doesn’t offer a dark view of humanity. Rather than a shoot-‘em-up action film, here we find a trio who are trying to understand these aliens. With various nations trying to translate the language, there’s lots of room for misinterpretation. Amy Adams gives a sensitive performance, turning the typical invasion from outer space trope into a backdrop for self-reflection. Dr. Louise Banks (Adams) examines what makes her human as she mourns the loss of a daughter.

So rather than discovering what the aliens are, we consider what makes us who we are. Both positive and negative.

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