Arrival (2016) – movie review


Arrival is a cerebral science-fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario, Incendies) and it stars Amy Adams as Dr. Louise Banks, a professional translating expert and lecturer.

12 alien ships in the shape of peanuts travel down to Earth and hover above 12 different locations. Each country is attempting to hold their citizens at peace which is proving quite a struggle, meanwhile the U.S. military has enlisted Louise to find out the aliens purpose.

Louise, along with theoretical physicist Ian (played by Jeremy Renner), enter the hovering peanut and attempt to converse with the extra terrestrial squid-people and then things become interesting…

Unfortunately for some, I’m afraid to say that Arrival is not an alien film along the lines of Independence Day. But fortunately for others, I am glad to say that it is a science-fiction gem along the lines of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Arrival has one of the best science-fiction screenplays I’ve seen put to screen since The World’s End. The story encompasses most aspects of the reaction to the aliens but the primary focus is on Louise, Ian and their conversations with the squid-people and although that may not sound exciting, you will become immersed.

And for this immersion to work, everything must be orchestrated together by a great director OH WAIT IT IS by Denis Villeneuve. This man has continuously proven his skill as a director by producing nothing but critically acclaimed dramas and now this, a science fiction film I would probably rank among the best.

No great movie is complete without a great leading performance OH WAIT they got that covered too.


Amy Adams is fantastic in Arrival. She currently has two films in cinema (the second being Nocturnal Animals) and if her performance in Nocturnal is as good as her performance in this, then she’s just given two Oscar-worthy performances in the space of one month.

Jeremy Renner is also great in this film although not nearly as fantastic as Adams simply because there wasn’t enough screen time given to Renner’s character.

The music in Arrival is eerie with confrontation, producing a sound (not music, just a series of sounds) which give the impression that the aliens are speaking directly to us.

The cinematography is also excellent as with previous Villeneuve films. The shots outside the hovering peanut look almost completely realistic and the shots within the hovering peanut look original, eerie and beautiful all at once.

I guess the only fault I’d have with this film isn’t so much a fault with the film as much as it is a fault with me; the ending is confusing. There are theories out there to try and explain the ending and what the whole film was about but I’m still struggling. This is a good thing because it challenges the unsuspecting viewer (me) but it may also frustrate the unsuspecting viewer (me) as well as sour some parts of the film’s excellence.


Arrival is an excellent science fiction film which will challenge the viewer who will not be expecting it. So I’m telling you to expect it.

Expect challenge. Achieve greatness. — Tim 2016.

From the moment the squid-people reach the ground (or 10 meters above it), Arrival grabs your brain, points it towards the screen and slowly massages it to yogurt with eerie music, an intellectual screenplay, great performances, on-point cinematography and an ending which will have you thinking for longer than the run time of the actual film.

Do not expect Independence Day though. There is no physical destruction. Only mental…

What did you think of Arrival? Do you have a theory for that ending? Are hovering peanuts all that intimidating?

Whatever your thoughts, leave your comment below, sign up to this blog on the side and don’t forget to follow my Instagram page for foreign versions of movie posters.

One thought on “Arrival (2016) – movie review

  1. Loved this movie. Amy Adams is wonderful as Louise. She is such a hot talent right now, with a similarly great performance in Nocturnal Animals.. When I saw the squid creatures, I thought …really? but it is an intelligent movie, with the director creating a mounting sense of unease, helped along by the musical score. It was very thought provoking. I agree the ending is confusing. I think it is all about a non-linear approach to the concept of time and memory, which the aliens want to gift to us. We initially think Louise’s character is having flashbacks, but is she really seeing the future? And at the end of the movie, with Ian, deciding on a path when she knows what will happen, but still chooses it, because of the joy it brings? Whatever it meant, it was very enjoyable.


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