Jared Skinner, Features Writer
Denis Villeneuve’s latest film, “Arrival,” is a captivating, intelligent and often hypnotically stunning film. The story follows renowned linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) who is recruited along with theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) by Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) to try and discover the intentions of mysterious aliens who have recently landed around the globe.
The science fiction genre is unique in the sense that it has a specific pallet that can often, when executed correctly, offer a profound statement. Set up with the otherworldly, human nature is highlighted and can give us an essential view of ourselves. “Arrival” is one of the exemplars in this regard, combining a starkly personal tale of its main character with a global reaction to create an ultimately grand state about the species as a whole and as sole individuals.
Almost every aspect shines in this movie: Adams’ powerful and personal performance, Villeneuve’s masterful storytelling and clever direction, the masterful cinematography of Bradford Young. But none of these has as profound an impact on the film’s themes as composer Johann Johannsson (“Sicario,” “The Theory of Everything”). Noted for working with Villeneuve on numerous projects, Johannsson’s ability to craft otherworldly, skin crawling drones all while actually adding to the thematic content of this movie is astounding.
“Arrival” is the best movie to come out so far this year. Its finale will raise as many questions as it answers and will reward those who pay close attention.
Villeneuve has done it again. He’s delicately crafted a complex story that entices audiences in with a slow and deliberate pacing, only this time he’s upped his ante. He wrestles with bigger themes and approaches the metaphysical question of what it means to be human without straying too far from his grounded characters. The result is a thought provoking, transcendent and poignant meditation on what it means to be a part of a humankind that is situated in the grandeur of a fathomless cosmos.