‘Arrival’ (2016, 12A)

Is this latest sci-fi blockbuster worth seeing or will you end up departing from the cinema?

12 mysterious spacecraft have landed across the globe, and the world is in panic as the governments of the world desperately try to find an agreement and work out what the objects are. They enlist the help of linguist Dr Louise Banks (Amy Adams) to help communicate with the beings within the objects and find out why they have landed on Earth.

The first thing to point out to everyone is that this film is not everyone’s cup-of-tea. It’s not a fast, simple sci-fi film with a generic plot and a couple of famous actors thrown in there as an incentive to watch it — quite the opposite. This is a complex and, albeit slow at times, brilliant film with both a spectacular plot and superb cinematography. Towards the beginning, the film is a bit slow, but the ending is well worth it.

The plot was multi-layered, which I like, and made you think. There was the top-layer, the basic synopsis I outlined at the beginning of the review, and then there was the middle and bottom layer, which I won’t get into here so as not to spoil the film, but these two layers developed the stories of the two leading characters, Louise Banks and Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), more so the former.

Perhaps unfairly, I compare all sci-fi films I watch to my favourite movie of all-time, Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ (my review of which can be viewed here), to see how it holds up against a film with a brilliant plot, beautiful special effects and well-developed characters. And, I must say, ‘Arrival’ hasn’t done too badly. The special effects are a bit debatable at times, but the other two boxes are definitely ticked, as I’ve previously mentioned.

This is the sort of film you have to see a few times to really appreciate and to fully understand. This will, of course, not appeal to everyone, however, to me it meets the criteria for a good film — you get more enjoyment from watching it the second time around than the first. With that in mind, I’m giving ‘Arrival’ nine-out-of-ten, deducting a mark purely for its sometimes below-par CGI effects.

9/10.

 

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