Movie Review - Jackie K Cooper
"Arrival" (Paramount Pictures)
If you are a fan and admirer of the Matthew McConaughey film "Interstellar" then let me introduce you to your new movie favorite "Arrival". However if you were not a fan of that cerebrally challenging sludge of a movie then you are not going to be standing in line to see "Arrival" a second time. Once will definitely be enough and maybe if you listen to your neighbors you might skip it all together. As for me, I found "Arrival" to be D.O.A.
The film focuses on Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams), a specialist in languages. One day twelve spacecraft enter our world and park themselves at various locations around the globe. Banks is drafted into going to Montana where one of the vessels is located and working with a team of military, CIA, and various other specialists. Ian Donnelly )Jeremy Renner) is a specialist in numbers.
Banks, Ian and the rest of a selected group from the team enter the vessel and make contact with the aliens. Their attempts to communicate with them through some sort of mutual language is a difficult roadblock to overcome. The aliens send out their language and the humans offer theirs but the connective space is lost.
Even though Ian is totally supportive Banks feels she is letting down the team by not being able to break through. She has moments of reflection on her past (possibly) and her future (also possibly) that give her some insights as to what she must do.. This is the crux of the film - what is time and how is it all relative? The movie tries to offer an answer but it never satisfied my mind though it did give me some entertainment in reflecting on it all after the movie had ended.
Adams is very good as the challenged linguist, but Renner is reduced to the role of the supportive boyfriend. Forrest Whitaker also has a throwaway part as one of the military men Banks works with or for.
The plot of the movie is challenging, and for me mostly unintelligible. It will make for good discussions but as for giving any definite answers, it doesn't. I am sure there are some of you out there who will say it was definitely this or that. I don't think it was definitely anything.
Plus why did most of the movie take place in the dark? Most of the outdoor scenes take place at sunup or sundown, or in the middle of the night. Why couldn't they just shine some light on everything. Even the indoor scenes take place in dark, shadowy places.
The movie is rated PG-13 for profanity and tense sequences.
"Arrival" is a movie that piques your interest but then leaves you in the lurch as to what happened and why. I like movies that at least give you some plausible explanation with which to work. I didn't get that here.
I scored "Arrival" a departed 5 out of 10.
Jackie K Cooper