“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.
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.