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The Arrival- Review

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The Arrival, directed by the three-time award winner of the Genie Award for best direction, Denis Villeneuve, is one of the best movies of Fall 2016 and arguably the best movie this year so far.  This nearly two-hour movie features a comprehensive and interesting story to captivate the audience the entire way through.

Within the story of The Arrival, extraterrestrial beings have landed on Earth and a linguistic professor Louise Banks, played by Amy Adams, is chosen by the U.S. military to try to communicate with these strange beings to answer one simple question: Why are they here? Although a relatively simple concept, Denis Villeneuve executes this perfectly by having a compelling conflict between the main characters and their employers, as well as having a truly unique alien presence in the movie.

The film is paced expertly, with just enough interesting bits to keep the audience wanting more but doesn’t throw everything at your face in one grand finale. The audience is rewarded with continuous “aha moments” as well as excellent character interactions with the occasional comedic moment to give the world these characters are in some personality. Amy Adams plays the whole “awkward-but-very-interesting-professor” pretty well as she propels the story as she works to figure out Earth’s newest threat. Her co-worker, Ian Donnelly (played by Jeremy Renner) and U.S. military Colonel Weber (played by Forest Whitaker) accentuate the meaning behind their characters through their interactions with one another and the world around them, which the audience can visibly notice and relish in the fact.

Luckily, a movie with such an in-depth story with many twists and turns, it doesn’t have any glaring issues or stand out problems. However, The Arrival tries to throw the audience some potential conflicts and problems but never fully capitalizes on them as being real problems. For example, at some point in the movie, some characters refuse to share information they’ve gathered with each other but without a legitimate reason and potentially leaves the audience scratching their head as to why this is happening. Also, with a movie with such a mysterious premise and a great reveal to the appearance of strange beings within the movie, the cinematography in this movie is a tad bit sub-par. You won’t being seeing any interesting camera shots or any clever editing. Fortunately, these small issues stand small in comparison to the writing.

Eric Heisserer had written the screenplay of The Arrival with such brilliant pacing, showing as little as possible while showing everything at the same time. The movie takes the audience with a slow burn and ramps it up perfectly towards the end, with a resolution, revelation and a flawless ending.

Having a budget of only $44 million dollars, the movie utilizes everything it has and delivers it to the audience with precision. Aside from minor incursions within the film, this movie is the epitome of a magnificent and clever story in any movie this year so far. With it’s desirable cast, interesting conflict and wonderful pacing, The Arrival is a must-watch film for anyone.

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The Arrival- Review