Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, and etc Director: Denis Villeneuve
Runtime: 116 minutes
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
The movie, “Arrival”, directed by Denis Villeneuve was released on October 10, 2016 in Russia and United Kingdom and on February 2, 2017 in Korea in the theaters. Denis is a French Canadian film director and writer who is best known for his crime-thriller films including “Sicario”, which was released in 2015. “Arrival” is basically about Louise Banks, a linguistics professor, leading a team of investigators to find a way to communicate with extraterrestrial visitors on Earth.
The story takes place mostly in Montana, where the military camp near one of the twelve spacecrafts is located. It begins with a mix of short cuts that shows the growth of Louise Bank’s daughter. She seems well and very energetic, but as time passes, she becomes more and more out of shape and eventually becomes hospitalized because of cancer. The screen turns and shows the present when Louise Bank is teaching students at a university as a professor. Then, a shocking news strikes the world. Twelve extraterrestrial spacecrafts landed on Earth, each in a different location around the world. Louise Banks gets included in an elite team of investigators to find out the purpose of their “arrival”. Why did they come to Earth? Will she be able to solve the mystery?
There were a number of aspects in the movie that surprised me. The first one is how the director presented the order of events in the movie. People, including me, naturally think that every movie follows a chronological order. However, this movie changed my stereotypes about films. There were many mysteries that I was not able to solve until I saw the end. After the movie was finished, I was able to understand the director’s intention of showing the events in the specific order, which gave me goosebumps. Rather than just giving out the surprise, the movie made people think. If I talk more about it, it would become a spoiler, so if you want to know more about it, WATCH IT!
I was also astonished by the design concept of the spacecrafts and the aliens. It was totally different from other science fiction movies about extraterrestrial creatures. What I naturally expected were wars and fancy looking aliens fighting to conquer Earth. However, this movie was much deeper than that. Rather than creating artificial and mechanical looking spaceships, it was just a simple oval shape. However, it created a weirdly nice harmony with the background even though it was on Earth. The gravity change when the investigators enter the spacecraft was also mind blowing. There were no fighting scenes at all, but it was still intense throughout the whole movie.
The movie is well thought out, realistic, and somewhat scientifically accurate. One example that proves this statement is that in the movie, the investigators bring a bird in a cage with them when they enter the spaceship. I was wondering throughout the movie why they had to include the bird. After the movie was finished, I searched on the internet and was finally able to know the reason. Birds are usually much more sensitive than humans and they continuously chirp, which allows people to know their conditions right away even when there is only a slight change in their reaction. Therefore, the bird was included to find out if there were any changes in the environment that could cause danger to the investigators. These small details surprised me and made me think about the movie even after it was finished.
Moreover, the idea that language can change how our brains function and understand time also astonished me and allowed me to see language as a different and more special factor. I thought that it can possibly happen since language is a barrier that humans made; there might be much more that we can do if we discover new languages or make improvements to our own. Even when we imagine or think of stories in our head, we usually come up with words, which shows how language has a very crucial impact on how our brain take in information and function. Therefore, I thought that this movie is a very new and interesting approach to the purpose of language in our lives.
The movie is actually based on a novel called “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang and it was planned to be created since at least November 2012. However, the filming had to begin in mid-June 2015 since Jeremy Renner, the actor for both Hawkeye and the physics professor, Ian Donnelly, in “Arrival”, had to complete the shooting of Captain America: Civil War.